Man arrested in Byron Bay over child abuse material
A FAR North Coast man charged with possessing child abuse material has been remanded in custody.
Gavin Smith, 46, represented himself when he faced Byron Bay Local Court via video link from custody on Monday.
Mr Smith was arrested about Sunday and charged with having child abuse material in his possession, as well as a prohibited drug.
When he appeared before the court, Mr Smith pleaded not guilty to both of his charges and asked the court to release him on bail.
Court documents list Ms Smith as living in the southern Perth suburb of Parmelia, but he told the court he had been based in the Byron Bay region on and off the past 28 years.
“I know about 400 people in the local community,” Mr Smith said.
“A third of my life has been in Byron Bay.
“I’d be no danger to the community and I will stick around.
“I want to stay in this area.”
He told the court there were various properties “in and around Byron Bay” where he could stay and he could receive any correspondence at the post office.
But Magistrate Karen Stafford was not satisfied it was appropriate to release the accused, who would effectively “couchsurf” if released on bail.
Ms Stafford said the case against Mr Smith appeared to be “extremely strong” and were “of a very disturbing sexual nature”, based on the information before her.
“In my view, if he’s convicted he’s likely to serve a period of full time custody,” Ms Stafford said.
Ms Stafford found there were no bail conditions that could mitigate the “unacceptable risk”. Mr Smith could fail to appear before court or pose a risk to members of the community.
Ms Stafford adjourned the case to February 1. A brief of evidence is due to be served upon the defendant by January 11.