Claims of golf ball riches get ruled out of bounds

A CONVICTED drug trafficker who claimed he got rich collecting second-hand golf balls has been ordered to hand over nearly $1 million in property and cash.

Robert James Upson, 60, claimed his extensive property portfolio, in the Lockyer Valley, Tweed Heads and Brisbane, as well as bank accounts flush with cash, were obtained after years of hard work collecting second-hand golf balls.

But one of the State's highest courts did not buy his claim.

Justice Philip McMurdo, in handing down his decision yesterday, ordered Upson hand over $954,450.73 to the State bringing to end a seven-and-a-half-year legal battle.

Justice McMurdo said there was little evidence to explain how Upson had amassed more than $1.2 million in unexplained wealth during his drug trafficking days.

"I have to say that having regard to the evidence of Mr Upson work and business history, this is a surprisingly high figure for Mr Upson to have had from legitimate sources in the subject period," he said.

"There is also Mr Upson's claim that he was making very large amounts from retrieving golf balls, but this is unsupported by any documentary evidence."

Upson was found guilty in 2010 and jailed for eight years for trafficking cannabis which he grew on multiple properties on Mount Mulgowie Rd at Coominya between June, 1997, and September, 2007.

He hit the headlines again the next year when he appealed his sentence in Queensland's highest court claiming he had earned $1.1 million from his illegal activities, not the $1.3 million put forward at his trial. Court documents revealed there had been 347 cash deposits totalling $1,282,943.93 made into various banks accounts Upson held during his time of offending. It is not known whether Upson intends to appeal the decision.

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