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Bailed denied

Monday 21 March 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, National


Bailed denied

A man facing multiple drug dealing charges has been denied bail despite pleas from his lawyer that he faces a lengthy wait for a trial.

Phillip Walter Montgomery Strickland appeared in the High Court at Avarua on Friday last week on three cannabis dealing charges, conspiring to sell cannabis, money laundering and contempt of court.

Defence lawyer Norman George said Strickland was arrested on September 22, 2021 while on bail. 

He was released from custody on March 26, 2021 following his arrest on January 28, 2021.

George said his client had been in custody close to seven months with no adverse reports or security risks.

The matter of bail centred around the alleged use of a cell phone for the purpose of dealing drugs.

George told the court his client was now “terrified” of cell phones.

His parents were willing to support him and his December wedding had to be cancelled because he was in custody.

His father’s plantation was losing money because Strickland was not available to work.

“His case will not be heard in June, we think it will be delayed until late 2022 or early 2023, we would like the court to review the situation,” George said.

“He is full of remorse, he wants to be released to work in his father’s plantation.”

Crown lawyer Annabel Maxwell-Scott said bail was opposed.

“He has shown on three separate occasions there is persistent use of cell phones for drug dealing.

“We do not accept remorse.”

Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams said the trial would likely go ahead in August.

Maxwell-Scott said she was “stream-lining” the evidence and had severe concerns about further offending, and his lack of ability to accept bail conditions.

“Nothing has changed.”

“The defendant has done absolutely nothing to justify this, to simply say he will do it again with evidence, there has to be a reason rather than speculation,” George said.

“If we wait until August it will be 12 months, it’s a long time in custody,” he said.

Justice Williams said bail had been considered on a number of occasions.

He said the one factor in considering the matter was the length of time until the trial might be heard.

He said the trial might be heard in August and told the court bail would be discussed at the next call over if there were further delays.

Justice Williams dismissed the application for bail.