Canberra Rebels vice president John Wright arrested in Braddon drug bust | Canberra Times

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A senior Rebels biker was released on bail after a drug bust at the Braddon unit, where police allegedly found large amounts of cash, suspected cocaine, and a string of brass knuckles. Detectives from the ACT Police’s anti-gang unit Taskforce Nemesis arrested Canberra Rebels vice president John Donald George Wright as he sat in a car on Mort Street on Thursday night. They took him to his nearby home and issued a search warrant, during which they claimed to have found about 60 grams of white powder believed to be cocaine. Some of them were said to be in a sock lying on the table, while others were allegedly under the kitchen sink. Court documents show that police claimed to have found $150 in the washing machine and about $15,000 in cash. According to police, there was also a set of knuckles in a fruit bowl on the dinner table. A white Holden Commodore company and a silver Renault business van were also seized as suspicious proceeds. Police allege that Mr. Wright, also known as John Winchester, refused requests to provide access codes for two mobile phones. He was eventually charged with drug trafficking, possession of a banned weapon, and failing to comply with a legal order to unlock electronic devices. Mr. Wright applied for bail in the ACT Magistrates’ Court on Friday, which defense attorney Charlene Chalker-Harris said had many “compelling” reasons for her release. Ms Chalker-Harris said the 46-year-old father of four children has been in the tile business for a long time and has recently worked in the greyhound processing field. He said the man had a limited criminal history and had strong ties to both the ACT and Queanbeyan as police accepted a bail assessment form. The lawyer claimed that the case against his client was “not strong” in relation to drug trafficking and weapons charges, because the items involved may have belonged to people who “come and go” regularly from the unit. He said his opposition to police bail was largely based on concerns that Mr Wright might interfere with witnesses in another court case involving some of the other Rebel motorcycles. Ms Chalker-Harris said these concerns were purely speculative and she was informed that her client had “no vested interest” in the case because it was related to something that happened before the rioters happened. Prosecutor Sam Bargwanna opposed bail, arguing that Mr. Wright was likely to commit a crime and would “contaminate” the evidence. He claimed that the 46-year-old refused to help the police unlock the phones. “The only logical reason for his refusal is because there was evidence there that he didn’t want the police to see it,” Bargwanna said. The prosecutor argued that there was “no way” for Mr Wright to be trusted on bail, as he could access devices via the “Cloud” to alter or destroy evidence. Mr Bargwanna said a bail requirement that would prohibit Mr Wright from using any device that could access the internet would be “impossible” to enforce. He also referred to the man’s membership in an illegal motorcycle gang and said such organizations are criminal. Judge James Lawton agreed with Ms Chalker-Harris that the concerns about Mr Wright were speculative and said there was nothing to indicate that the 46-year-old would not comply with his bail conditions. MORE COURT AND CRIMINAL NEWS: Mr. Lawton said he absolutely did not accept that there was anything incriminating on the phones or that the materials on them could be falsified from faraway places while the police were in their hands. He said another order would likely be issued soon, forcing Mr. Wright to provide phone codes, and that if he did not comply, the cyclist would have committed a crime. The magistrate was released on bail on conditions such as the requirement that Mr. Wright report to the police every day and that his access to the internet was prohibited. Mr. Wright, who did not go on the defensive, is expected to appear in court again on 16 December. Our journalists work hard to bring local, up-to-date news to the community. You can continue to access our trusted content by:



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