Former St Kilda defender Sam Fisher has been granted bail on a charge he trafficked one kilogram of ice across the country, despite police concerns he will commit drug offences while out of custody.
Police believe that in April, Fisher was involved in concealing the ice and 84 grams of cocaine in a kitchen rangehood and sent it from Melbourne to a man waiting in Perth. The delivery was intercepted by West Australian officers.
Sam Fisher was arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking on May 18.Credit:Sebastian Costanzo
Fisher was arrested and went into custody on May 18 when police found drugs and drug paraphernalia in his Sandringham apartment, including an ice pipe, two bags of a combined 14 grams of ice, two ecstasy tablets and almost two litres of party drug 1,4-Butanediol, Melbourne Magistrates’ Court has heard.
Police allege Fisher is connected to $230,000 worth of drugs.
After almost seven weeks in custody, the 39-year-old, who won two best and fairest awards for the Saints in a 13-year AFL career, was granted bail on Tuesday to stay at a drug rehabilitation facility in Woodend to get treatment for his addiction.
Magistrate Bernard FitzGerald said the prosecution case was a powerful one, but after “anxious consideration”, he found in Fisher’s favour to release him on bail to stay at the rehabilitation centre for the next three months.
A court sketch of Sam Fisher last week.Credit:Mollie McPherson, Nine News
“I am narrowly persuaded that exceptional circumstances have been made out,” FitzGerald said.
“Further, on the question of risk, I am not satisfied that the prosecution has satisfied that the risk is unacceptable. In my view, the risk of further offending will be adequately mitigated by the imposition of strict bail conditions.”
Police and prosecutors opposed bail because they argued Fisher’s charges are serious, the case against him is strong, and he faced a long stint in jail if found guilty. They further raised concerns he would offend if released on bail, which had the potential to put the public at risk.
Fisher, who appeared via video link from prison on Tuesday, is charged with trafficking a large commercial quantity of drugs and faces other trafficking and possession offences.
Defence barrister Dermot Dann, QC, told the court last week that the former footballer planned to plead not guilty to the major trafficking charge but acknowledged he had a drug addiction and needed help.
Dann said Fisher struggled to find meaning in life when his 228-game AFL career ended, had been unable to hold down a post-football job, and endured relationship problems. He turned to drug use and was using ice every day until recently, the court heard.
Fisher’s lawyers argued he met the exceptional circumstance threshold to get bail, as he would have faced spending years in custody awaiting trial, that he had been accepted into residential rehabilitation, and that his family, St Kilda and the AFL Players Association were all supportive of him getting treatment.
FitzGerald granted bail on the conditions that Fisher report to police by phone twice a week and his parents provide a $25,000 surety.
Police discovered the alleged links between Fisher and the West Australian man, Julien Morvan, when investigators in Perth intercepted a parcel containing $129,000 cash and tracked it to the latter.
The court heard that Morvan and a contact in his phone named “Fish” used encrypted messages to discuss details of drugs to be sent from Melbourne to Perth and that Fisher was recorded by CCTV cameras picking up a rangehood from a Harvey Norman store in Moorabbin and leaving a parcel at a Hampton cafe. The cafe is owned by Morvan’s father.
Police allege the parcel left at the cafe contained the drugs later found in the rangehood. But they say Morvan’s father is not connected to the alleged offending.
Morvan is charged with attempting to possess a drug with intent to sell and money laundering. He is on bail in Perth.
Fisher’s case will return to court in September.
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