Alleged cocaine supplier swaps jail for exclusive rehab
AN ALLEGED cocaine courier and addict involved in a cross-border drug syndicate has been granted bail to be treated in an exclusive private rehab clinic in the Byron hinterland..
Mother, friends and siblings attended Lismore Local Court on Tuesday in support of Jesse Marijonas Vilkelis-Curas, 22, who has been in custody since his arrest in late May.
Police allege Mr Vilkelis-Curas was involved in the supply of 1kg of cocaine on two occasions in March and April in Sydney, and the Lismore Heights man faces two counts of supplying a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs.
He is also accused of participating in a criminal group alongside alleged Gold Coast kingpin Corey Magee, 26, and Matthew Ivan.
Magee's relatives Mark and Ricky Magee are also named in court papers alongside two other men, Sean Blazely and David Anderson, in an indictment against Corey, who is accused of directing the criminal group from a Kingscliff address between October last year and May this year.
Mr Magee remains behind bars on three counts of supplying a large commercial quantity of cocaine and a further 1kg of MDMA. He is also charged with nine counts of the supply of the prescription opiate bupremorphine.
At Mr Vilkelis-Curas' bail hearing in Lismore Local Court on Tuesday, his lawyer Saba Rezae argued strict bail conditions and a stint in rehab could justify his client's release on bail.
Police prosecutor Brett Gradisnik opposed bail, and due to the seriousness of the alleged offences the accused was required to show cause why he should be released.
Mr Vilkelis-Curas appeared via video link from the Mid-North Coast Correctional Centre for the bail hearing.
Magistrate David Heilpern said the Crown case was a strong one and said delays in the case meant it might take 18 months to reach a conclusion.
Much would hinge on the accused's role and motivation in the alleged criminal enterprise.
"His [alleged] involvement starts simply as a courier, as a driver, but morphs into something more significant as a purchaser on behalf of the principal," Magistrate Heilpern said of the accused.
"What is also apparent, is it's unclear whether the defendant is motivated by money... or his ongoing chronic addiction to cocaine which had overwhelmed him in later years."
Magistrate Heilpern said the money the accused was collecting from the alleged dealing was being handed on to the principal of the enterprise, and "there is simply no evidence that the defendant was being paid anything personally as a result of this."
He also said the accused's situation was "unique" because he had an "extraordinary level of support" from his family.
The court heard that if released Vilkelis-Curas would be treated at a private holistic rehab centre in Myocum, paid for by his mother.
"We're talking a significant amount of financial commitment from his family to his treatment... in the thousands of dollars," Magistrate Heilpern said.
A "lengthy" psychologist's report also backed up the claim Vilkelis-Curas was suffering extreme cocaine addiction.
"The height of the prosecution case seems... he was not in this for profit, he was in this to pursue his chronic drug use," Magistrate Heilpern said
"All in all in my view even though it's unusual... I am satisfied cause has been shown why detention is not justified."
The 22-year-old must reside at the Byron Private Treatment Centre in Myocum and he is not to leave unless in the company of a staff member, and then only within a 15km radius of that centre.
Magistrate Heilpern warned that failure to adhere to the directions of the clinic would constitute a breach of bail, and staff had a legal obligation to report it.
Family and supporters of Mr Vilkelis-Curas hugged after his bail was granted.
The matter was adjourned to September 18.
Corey Magee did not apply for bail when his matters were mentioned and he was formally refused. His case was also adjourned to September 18 to return to Lismore Local Court.