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.


Topics:  drug dealer

Regions declared big winners in SCU funding deal

ALL SMILES: Professor Shoemaker is thrilled by the deal struck with the Federal Government.

Funding deal puts Allied Health campus in Coffs back on track

Swimmer missing at Valla while others rescued along Coast

An IRB is searching the waters at Valla Beach for a missing swimmer.

Search for missing man caught in Valla rip will start again at 6am.

Axemen start season with bang in 9s

The Hoey Moey Tooheys Coffs Coast 9s final at Geoff King Motors Park was played between Group 2 rivals the Coffs Harbour Comets and the Orara Valley Axemen who won 12-10. Nines rugby league 17 February 2018 Photo: Brad Greenshields/Coffs Coast Advocate

Promised improvement more than just empty words after Coffs Coast 9s

Local Partners