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Kingpin plea change made Coast man look 'slimy' to jury

A Sunshine Coast drug dealer says his trial was flawed.
A Sunshine Coast drug dealer says his trial was flawed. John Weekes

A DRUG dealer says he was under the influence of lawyers when he changed his plea.

William Myles Bush, 45, was jailed for his long-running involvement in a Sunshine Coast drug business that sold speed, ecstasy and marijuana.

He blames bad legal advice for the 13-year jail sentence dished out to him in 2015 and is appealing his conviction.

During his Brisbane Supreme Court trial, Bush changed pleas on four of his eight charges - from not guilty to guilty.

At the Queensland Court of Appeal on Wednesday, Crown Prosecutor Greg Cummings said Bush called the shots during his trial.

But Bush said he naively changed his pleas.

Bush's current barrister, Tim Ryan, said his client's credibility to jurors was "dealt a body blow" when the pleas changed.

"At the start, I was told to plead not guilty," Bush told the court through a video link. "Then all of a sudden I was going to be pleading guilty."

He said he trusted the trial lawyers' expertise, comparing them to car mechanics.

"If my mechanic tells me 'This is what you should do', there's a 99% chance I'm going to do that. I was following what I was told to do," Bush said.

Appeal court president Walter Sofronoff said Bush was asserting the change of plea "emerged in a way that made him look slimy".

Barrister Andrew Hoare, who defended Bush at the trial, gave evidence on Wednesday.

He said Bush's case was set for trial because "the gap between the defence case and the Crown case was too great".

Mr Hoare said Bush was not evasive when it came to giving instructions, saying he probably based his trial opening on statements Bush emailed him.

He said the defence goal was to get a sentence which did not engage a Serious Violent Offenders declaration for Bush. An SVO means an offender must serve 80% of their sentence.

"It was apparent before the trial that he would almost certainly have to give evidence," Mr Hoare said.

Mr Ryan said Mr Hoare's "frustrations boiled over" and the legal team fractured over disputes about when a proof of evidence should be provided.

Justice Philip McMurdo urged Mr Ryan not to "hammer on and on and on" about the lawyers' frustrations.

Mr Hoare said he was given insufficient information when the trial began.

He said he expected there might be a change of plea at some point, but added: "I don't know whether I'd do it the same way again."

The hearing continues.

-NewsRegional

Topics:  drug dealer



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