Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stupid and costly prosecution in NSW

Cops claimed that a small quantity of drugs found on busy premises belonged to a particular person but had no evidence of that

A HIGH profile blitz on drugs in Kings Cross has backfired with police forced to drop charges against a nightclub manager and foot his hefty legal bill.

In Downing Local Court yesterday, the trainee high school history teacher Scott Robert Lavers, was awarded $19,790 in legal costs after police were forced to withdraw a charge of cocaine supply.

The charge was withdrawn on the second day of a two day hearing last month, after Magistrate Lisa Stapleton expressed concerns about the strength of the prosecution case.

After Magistrate Stapleton formally dismissed the charge, Mr Lavers' lawyer successfully asked for costs to be paid and no conviction recorded.

Mr Lavers was arrested on May 20 last year at 10.30pm when nearly 30 police raided the Showgirls night club in Kings Cross.

Police found 0.5gram of cocaine in the club, that they said belonged to Mr Lavers, a claim he denied.

He was charged with supplying a prohibited drug, cocaine, on the evening of April 30 last year.

At the time he had been the club's assistant manager and mostly worked in the "cash box" where he collected entry fees.

Details of the case against Mr Lavers are restricted from publication because Magistrate Stapleton closed the court, saying the case involved a controlled police operation and a registered source.

However court documents released by the court show the witnesses in the case were expected to include six police officers and "registered source 876297".

Mr Lavers said he was relieved that his ordeal was over. "I was innocent the entire time," he said. "I never knew there was drugs on the premises and I still don't know if there ever were any," he said.


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