FLOWER USED CODED MESSAGES IN COCAINE CASE

FLOWER USED CODED MESSAGES IN COCAINE CASE

High profile Australian racehorse owner Damion Flower used coded messages to let a baggage handler know where to find bags of cocaine coming into Sydney Airport, a court has been told.

But prosecutors have no proof the man best-known for his stake in Australia’s most in-demand stallion even owned the phone from where the messages originated, Flower’s lawyer says.

Flower, whose racing empire includes a stake in Arrowfield Stud stallion Snitzel and a slot in The Everest (1200m), Australia’s richest race, is facing six charges of importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

Police allege the former baggage handler used his connections at the airport to help smuggle cocaine in on commercial flights from South Africa.

But as Flower applied for bail on Wednesday – a week after his arrest – his lawyer argued the prosecution case at most suggested the racehorse owner might have had some knowledge “about something happening”.

“There is nothing Flower is shown to have done to have arranged the physical (smuggling) into Australia or the dissemination (of those packages),” Chris Watson said.

Mr Watson told the court Flower’s continued detention would affect dozens of co-owners and staff at his Jadeskye Racing stables.

However, crown prosecutor Stacey Hatch said there was no reason Flower couldn’t appoint someone to make business decisions on his behalf.

She said prosecutors had a strong circumstantial case for two counts of drug importation, including one where Flower’s role was “more akin to a principal”.

Flower allegedly referred to “checking the weight of the jockey” in one message. In another he talked about a supposedly nonexistent rugby team and then listed three digits, Ms Hatch said.

“(The number) was the same as the container in which the bag (of cocaine) was taken from. He is directing those actions,” she said.

Magistrate Robert Williams reserved his bail decision until this afternoon.

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