Alleged drug importer Damion Flower ‘must get bail’
HIGH-profile racehorse owner Damion Flower, who faces six drug importation charges, applied for bail on Wednesday at Sydney Central Local Court, where his ex-wife Camilla and his mother both offered up their homes as a surety.
Defence barrister Chris Watson addressed "a suggestion of unexplained wealth" by noting Flower part owned renowned sprinter Snitzel, who stands at stud for $40 million per year and has won significant amounts of prize money.
But the incomes of about 50 other people who Flower co-owned horses with could be put at risk if he were kept in custody, Mr Watson said.
Flower was arrested at his Moorebank home last week and the NSW Crime Commission has seized all of his property and interests.
Flower has been banned from all NSW racecourses and stables and stripped of his Everest barrier slot pending the outcome of his six commercial drug importation charges.
The former baggage handler allegedly teamed up with an ex-colleague and another man to smuggle the drugs through Sydney Airport on six Qantas flights from South Africa between January and May.
Racing NSW has issued Flower with a show cause notice to argue his case against the ban, but he won't be able to front the industry body while he remains behind bars.
"There will be a very significant impact on a whole lot of people should he be unable to deal with the decision by Racing NSW," Mr Watson said.
Flower has shares in more than 60 well-bred racehorses out of his Platinum Park complex at Hawkesbury racecourse and some of the state's top horses could be held under court order by the NSW Crime Commission.
Any money that these horses win and would normally have been pocketed by Flower will be frozen and held in a trust pending the outcome of his criminal case.
Flower's lawyer told the court that a police allegation "based on some misinformation" that $1 million was found at his home during raids last week were false.
The leading racing identity's former partner is due to give evidence about the "current state of the health of their two daughters", Mr Watson said.
The pair divorced some years ago but now co-habitate in her home in the interests of their children, the court heard.
It is understood that when Flower was arrested he owed $2.4 million for four yearlings he bought last month at the Inglis Easter sales.
The ex-Waverley College student also paid $2.4 million for barrier slots in four consecutive instalments of the prestigious annual The Everest, the world's richest race on turf.
Flower, To Oto O Junior Mafiti, 50, and Ashoor Youkhana, 42, were allegedly part of an international syndicate importing cocaine worth tens of millions of dollars.
Last week Qantas baggage handler Mafiti was arrested at the airport, allegedly with 28kg of cocaine in a bag. He was charged with five counts of commercial drug importation.
Their arrests came more than a month after Youkhana, from Middleton Grange, was nabbed in a car near Sydney Airport, allegedly with a duffel bag containing 27kg of cocaine. He's been charged with one count of commercial drug trafficking.
Police raided homes and storage units in Hoxton Park, Oran Park, Moorebank and Revesby last week, allegedly seizing more than 50kg of cocaine and $8 million in cash.
Magistrate Robert Williams adjourned the case until later on Wednesday afternoon.