Bail granted after fake prosecution
A convicted Nelson drug dealer freed on bail as a result of the fake prosecution of an undercover police officer says his release from prison is "mint".
Trevor John Momo Wilson, 26, was given bail yesterday despite pleading guilty to supplying LSD, cannabis, and party pills.
He pleaded guilty following Operation Explorer, which planted an undercover officer in the Nelson-based Red Devils gang.
Wilson was sentenced to 2 years jail in the High Court in Nelson in September.
There were 20 other co-accused but Wilson was the only one to plead guilty.
His lawyer, Steven Zindel, said Wilson's reaction at hearing he would be released from prison was: "Mint".
Wilson was never a member of the Red Devils and was caught up in the fringes of the operation.
Intercepted text messages from police showed Wilson had conspired with others to sell party pills and had bought 227 grams of cannabis.
Wilson had a baby due in March and was relieved he would be home for that, Mr Zindel said.
He said Wilson had pleaded guilty and got the discount on his sentence for admitting the offending and then found out the others had charges against them stayed.
Justice France threw out the prosecutions of the 20 accused in October after it was revealed police had perpetrated a "fraud" on the courts by staging the fake prosecution and forging a search warrant they served on a member of the public.
Wilson had already begun his sentence but appealed his conviction after the other prosecutions were stayed.
"The grounds of his appeal are that a miscarriage of justice will otherwise occur if he is to continue serving a prison sentence while the other co-accused, many of whom are accused of having committed more serious offences, walk free," a judgment by Justice France released yesterday said.
Wilson's appeal has not been given a date yet but he applied for bail in the meantime.
His Honour said Wilson's appeal had merit and as the hearing date would probably be some way off it was "in the interests of justice that the appellant should be on bail pending the appeal".
The Crown has filed an application to refer Justice France's opinion to the Court of Appeal and a hearing on that matter will be held on Monday.
Mr Zindel said if the Crown lost its appeal the charges against Wilson would go away.
However, it could be some time before the outcome of the appeal was known as the matter could go to Court of Appeal.
"At least on bail he can get on with his life."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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