Holiday allowed for drug accused

AN accused drug dealer is being allowed to leave Australia to holiday in London, Paris and Amsterdam after her solicitor told the court she had saved hard for the holiday and was doing what most young people like to do.

Jessica Jones, 19, who is being represented by Legal Aid solicitor Peter Ringbauer, did not initially appear in Orange Local Court on Thursday for her bail variation application to leave the country.

Initially Magistrate Terry Lucas rejected the application, asking for the accused to be present in court for the hearing.

In a lengthy argument to support his client’s application to leave the country, Mr Ringbauer pointed out the bail conditions imposed by the court in late May, when Jones was arrested, only stipulated she must live with her father and did not exclude overseas travel.

However, Mr Lucas refused to entertain the application, instead telling Mr Ringbauer he was not prepared to make a decision until his client was brought to court.

Jones and her co-accused Alex Williamson, are facing charges of drug supply, with Jones charged with four counts of supplying methcathinone, also known as “meow meow” or “MCAT”, and Williamson facing 43 charges.

Both came to the attention of police during telephone surveillance in the investigation of the Wentworth Golf Club robbery in April.

Making the case for his client to be allowed to leave the country, Mr Ringbauer said Jones had close family ties, which was an incentive for her to return to Australia.

“If she was a flight risk she could have just gone to her point of departure and flown out with no restrictions on her, as there would have been no alert at the airport. She is the one who has approached the court for the variation,” he said.

Mr Ringbauer reminded the court Jones’ father had posted a $2000 surety in May when his daughter was arrested.

He told the court Jones’ father had provided his daughter with a loan to buy a $25,000 car and was prepared to post further surety if needed.

“My client worked at the DPI [Department of Primary Industries’] on a contract, which has now ended and she has saved hard. She’s never been overseas before and she wants to do what many young people do,” he said.

Solicitor representing the Director of Public Prosecutions, Michael Fay, said he was satisfied Jones was not a flight risk.

“She has a return ticket and has more to lose by not coming back,” he said.

Jones returns to Australia on January 8 and will appear in court four weeks later to answer the drug charges.

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