Man denied bail after raids net weapons, drugs

A LAIDLEY man has been refused bail over multiple charges relating to raids on homes in the Lockyer Valley.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard Andrew James Balke, 41, was arrested and charged after police executed warrants at homes in Laidley and Gatton on November 13.

He did not appear from the police watch-house with his application made by lawyer Matthew Fairclough.

The charges against Balke, 41, include possession of shortened firearms at Laidley on Friday, November 13; three counts of possessing dangerous drugs (methylamphetamine) in Gatton on November 13; three counts of supplying dangerous drugs (methylamphetamine) on August 13, November 6, and November 13 this year; three counts of unlawful possession of weapons (category A, B or M) in Laidley; unlawful possession of weapons (category D, H or R); possession of drug utensils that had been used; two counts of not having the required authority to possess ammunition (explosives); receiving tainted property - firearm or ammunition; failing to take reasonable care with needle/syringe; and two counts of unlawful possession of controlled drugs.

Police opposed bail with prosecutor Sergeant Paul Caldwell saying three of the charges of supplying methylamphetamine would have to go before the District Court.

Sgt Caldwell said one allegation of supply at Gatton referred to an amount of seven grams.

Mr Fairclough said the charges would be contested by Balke.

He said Balke operates a mechanical engineering business from his home in Laidley.

Mr Fairclough said Balke did not have a relationship with another person, named as "Ellis" in court, and lived with his partner and child.

"He accepts that he does have issues in the use of methamphetamine," Mr Fairclough said.

Mr Fairclough said a letter from his wife that was before the court indicates Balke has been receiving drug treatment since August.

"He instructs his drug issues flared as a result of the death of his father several months ago," Mr Fairclough said.

"The allegations are serious with a large number of items recovered at Gatton. They are not premises where he resides."

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said there were 19 fresh charges that were the result of the execution of a police search warrant on November 13 at Gatton.

"Police say he was present at the time and in a bedroom with the person Ellis. A third person was also present," Ms Sturgess said.

Ms Sturgess said the allegations include police finding 1.4 grams of ice, a stun gun, a flick knife, ammunition and other weapons, and drug utensils.

When police later searched his Laidley home a shortened firearm and rifle were found, Ms Sturgess said.

The court heard Balke's mobile phone was seized and when police downloaded messages there was a suggestion of the phone having been used in the supply of dangerous drugs.

"Mr Balke has an extensive criminal history going back to the year 2000," she said.

Ms Sturgess said it included convictions for weapons, drug supply and possession, and an offence of threatening violence with a firearm in 2016.

Ms Sturgess found Balke to be an unacceptable risk and refused bail

He was remanded in custody with his case to be mentioned on December 9.



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