Champion jockey's father refused bail on drug charges
A $10,000 surety from champion jockey Ben Looker has not been enough to get his father Michael released on bail after he fronted a Grafton court yesterday.
Michael Alexander Looker, 51, of Southgate, was one of five men arrested in police raids in the Grafton area on Thursday.
Police have since linked the arrests to a car crash that killed two men and seriously injured a woman at Halfway Creek in December. Last month, James Kevin Cook, 34, was charged with the men's murder.
Looker has been charged with 11 counts of supplying a prohibited drug between March 15 and May 14.
Four others were arrested:
Tyson Dean Stoker, 24, of South Grafton, who has been charged with 40 counts of supply prohibited drug.
Jason Wayne O'Driscoll, 39, of South Grafton, charged with seven counts of supply prohibited drug, possess prohibited drugs and recklessly deal with proceeds of crime.
Aaron Raymond Godwin, 38, of Grafton, charged with aggravated break and enter in company and supply prohibited drug.
Gregory John Reilly, 45, of Halfway Creek, charged with 11offences including supply prohibited drug, receive stolen property and possess unauthorised firearm. He did not apply for bail.
Due to the seriousness of the charges, Looker, Stoker, O'Driscoll and Godwin needed to show cause why they should be released when they applied for bail. All were bail refused.
All five have been remanded to appear at Grafton Local Court on Monday.
Looker, who four weeks ago shed tears of joy as he celebrated his son's Grafton Cup win on Sacred Day, was visibly distraught in court yesterday.
With his wife, daughter and grandchildren in court, he wept and rubbed his eyes while his solicitor, Joel Eng, appealed for his client's release on bail.
Mr Eng made much of Looker's lengthy and close family connections to the area, his limited criminal record, need for treatment for a back injury and the need to tie up financial affairs to avoid the possibility of losing his family home.
He said Looker's son, Benjamin, would stump up $10,000 surety and he would be willing to report to police daily as part of strict bail conditions.
Another of the accused, O'Driscoll, fronted court looking the worse for wear.
He had marks and bruising on the left side of his face that looked to have been inflicted recently.
His solicitor, Peter Hunter, also argued for bail for his client, saying he was a carer for his wife who had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
He said his client would submit to house arrest and wearing an electronic bracelet and could put up $1000 surety.
The court registrar said Looker and O'Driscoll had not overcome the show cause threshold to earn release.