High-profile racehorse owner Damion Flower has been refused bail by a magistrate who said the strong drug smuggling case against him appeared to show he had a “supervision” role in the scheme.
Flower, whose stakes in a suite of racehorses included champion sire Snitzel, is accused of helping to smuggle more than 55 kilograms of cocaine in black duffel bags through Sydney Airport. He is expected to plead not guilty to six offences.
Magistrate Robert Williams on Thursday noted Flower’s family had offered property worth more than $3 million as bail surety, but said he had some difficulty in balancing that against the strength of the prosecution case, the seriousness of the charges and the large quantity of drugs recovered.
“In relation to each of the (six) offences before the court, there appears to be links directly to the actions of Flower,” he said.
Mr Williams said prosecutors alleged Flower used coded language on a falsely subscribed phone and “overall supervision actions…can be gleaned from the facts”. The magistrate stressed the Crown’s case wasn’t yet sworn evidence, nor was he deciding Flower’s guilt.
The 47-year-old Flowers rose to racing prominence with Group 1 winner and now Arrowfield Stud based sire Snitzel. He’s since established a training facility on Sydney’s northwest fringe for his stable of racehorses.
Mr Williams also rejected a claim by Flower’s lawyer Chris Watson that a trial may not start before mid-2020, saying the case wasn’t complex and it could be ready for trial early next year.
Flower, wearing prison greens and appearing via video link, said: “Thank you, your honour” as his former wife, Camilla, was comforted in the public gallery.
He is due to appear next, via video link, at the same court on July 17.