A Mudgee man arrested during search warrants executed last week by the Criminal Groups Squad’s Strike Force Raptor North, was refused bail in local court on Wednesday.
Russell Wayne Lawrence, aged 37, of Putta Bucca Road, Mudgee, was charged with ‘Take person in company with intent commit serious indictable offence’, following an alleged incident in the early hours of Sunday, October 28, 2018. Also early that date he allegedly committed another offence against another victim and charged with; ‘Robbery’; ‘Larceny’; ‘Common assault’; and ‘Stalk/intimidate intend fear physical etc harm (personal)’.
Then at 7.50am last Wednesday (November 28, 2018), police attached to Strike Force Raptor executed a search warrant on Lawrence’s property, allegedly locating a number of firearms.
He was subsequently charged with; three counts of ‘Possess unauthorised firearm’; three counts of ‘Acquire firearm no licence/permit – not prohibited firearm/pistol’; three counts of ‘Not keep firearm safely – not prohibited firearm/pistol’; three counts of ‘Unauthorised person fail to surrender firearm’; ‘Possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority’; and three counts of ‘Possess unregistered firearm – not prohibited firearm/pistol’.
Police prosecutor Kris O’Brien opposed bail, submitting that the defendant is facing “three strong prosecution cases” with the likelihood of a custodial sentence if he’s convicted, and that “all bail concerns are relevant”.
Those concerns being Lawrence’s criminal antecedence, which includes relatively recent violent offences, charges of contravening court orders and bonds, and failing to appear in accordance with bail conditions on previous matters.
As well as the feared “danger to the community” in “a small town” Sergeant O’Brien highlighted, with the potential to interfere with witnesses and reconnect with associates.
Solicitor acting for Lawrence, Peter Orr, submitted that a proposed bail condition would be that he reside in Orange and agree not to enter Mudgee.
However, Magistrate David Day ruled that there were too many potential risks in granting bail.
And said that the ‘Take person’ charge, “demonstrates that when Mr Lawrence is out and about he enforces his will”.
All matters were adjourned until Wednesday, February 6, 2019, with the defendant to appear via Audio-Visual Link.