A Grafton Local Court magistrate has refused 51-year-old Southgate man Michael Looker's application for bail on drugs charges.
A Grafton Local Court magistrate has refused 51-year-old Southgate man Michael Looker's application for bail on drugs charges. The Daily Examiner

Drug dealer's bungle created debt of $8000, court hears

A 51-YEAR-OLD Southgate man on 11 charges of drug dealing bungled the operation so badly he took out a personal loan to cover his debts.

A bail hearing in Grafton Local Court heard Michael Alexander Looker had sold drugs to a single customer between March 15 and May 14 but after a time the customer stopped paying.

Mr Looker was one of five men from the Grafton area arrested in a police operation on Thursday.

Defence solicitor John Kelly said the debt was about $8000, for which Mr Looker had taken out a personal loan to pay an unidentified supplier.

Mr Kelly had to "show cause" why Mr Looker should receive bail, due to the serious nature of his charges.

He said only one of the 11 charges triggered the show cause requirement, one of supplying a commercial quantity of drugs, which was a strictly indictable matter.

Mr Kelly said the police case on the 10 smaller supply charges was strong, but the case on the more serious charge was weaker.

He said there would be reasonable doubts the seriously indictable threshold of 250g of the drug could be ascertained.

Mr Kelly said Mr Looker needed bail to sort out his financial matters, the personal loan and a mortgage on his family home, which he and his wife, who was in court, were servicing.

He also said he had animals he needed to arrange care for, including a horse, which did not like women caring for it.

Magistrate Greg Grogin said he did not believe the care of a horse would influence a show cause matter.

Mr Kelly said Mr Looker had strong ties to the community, having lived at his current address for 17 years. He also pointed out Mr Looker had never been in jail before and his drug dealing was to one client, who was now in custody.

Mr Looker had stopped dealing in May, which was further evidence the community was safe from him offending again.

Lastly, he said Mr Looker could count on a $10,000 surety from his son, jockey Ben Looker, if required.

The prosecution opposed bail, due to the seriousness of the charges, pointing out there was nothing exceptional in the accused needing to pay a mortgage.

Mr Grogin dismissed the $10,000 surety and gave two reasons for refusing bail. Firstly he did not believe the application showed cause why bail should be granted. He said if was wrong on that matter, the risk of endangering the community with further criminal activity made granting bail unacceptable. He adjourned the case to October 8 in Grafton.