An Olympian’s brother, who allegedly threw hundreds of kilograms of cocaine off a boat into the sea, will stay behind bars even though COVID-19 is causing court delays.
Dru Anthony Baggaley and his brother Olympic kayaker Nathan Baggaley were expected to face a jury in June, but the trial could be delayed by 12 months.
The Crown alleges Dru Baggaley and another man travelled for many hours on a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) to meet a larger foreign vessel off the coast of NSW on July 30 and 31, 2018, a Queensland Court of Appeal judgment says.
Dru Baggaley was allegedly seen discarding black packages – later found to contain 512kg of pure cocaine with an estimated value of up to $176 million – into the ocean.
The Crown claims 30 packages were retrieved from the water by authorities, while another nine similar packages washed ashore in subsequent months.
It also alleges Nathan Baggaley bought the inflatable boat and was waiting for it in the Brunswick Heads area of northern NSW from July 31.
The judgment says the prosecution will allege Dru Baggaley at first evaded authorities on the boat equipped with a satellite phone, chart plotter and internet, but was later arrested.
Supreme Court Justice Peter Flanagan found during the earlier bail application that, according to the Crown’s case, Dru Baggaley “was caught red-handed by authorities in the importation of a substance which, upon analysis, proved to be cocaine”, the judgment published on Friday states.
It says Dru Baggaley effectively admitted to police he intended to pick up items at sea, but claimed he thought they were tobacco.
The appeal court agreed with two judges who refused earlier bail applications that someone facing such a strong crown case would have a powerful incentive to dislodge and destroy a GPS tracking device should that be a bail condition.
Dru Baggaley has been in custody since August 1, 2018, and his brother was arrested on June 20 last year.
The court on Friday dismissed Dru Baggaley’s appeal against the second refusal to grant him bail.
Australian Associated Press