Meth cook doesn't want to pay $14m under proceeds of crime

A LAWYER has argued that a convicted Mackay meth cook should not have to pay $14 million to the state under the proceeds of crime because he did not have as much input in the drug scheme as his Rockhampton counterpart.

Last year the supreme court ordered Ilbilbie man Michael Paul Falzon and Rockhampton man James Thomas O'Brien to pay the state $14 million each for making and selling 200kg of meth.

But Falzon - who is serving a 10-year prison sentence - has appealed this at Queensland's highest court.

At a hearing at Queensland Court of Appeal on Friday, Falzon's barrister Stephen Courtney argued that the $14 million sum had been decided based on how much meth could be cooked from 140 litres of hypophosphorous acid.

Mr Courtney argued Falzon had only used a part of this acid.

A jury found O'Brien - who is serving 14 years in jail - and Falzon were involved in making drugs together and Mr Courtney said he did not dispute this. But he said the supreme court justice who made the proceeds of crime order could not have been convinced that Falzon had a direct connection with O'Brien at all times just because there was evidence they had made drugs together at one point.

He also argued there was evidence that suggested O'Brien ran his own business on the side which did not involve Falzon.

But barrister Richard Douglas QC, who represented the Crown, said distinguishing how much acid Falzon used did not matter.

He said even if O'Brien was the only one who used the acid and created the drugs, "it is still part and parcel of that commercial enterprise".

"Our contention is that whilst there is sufficient evidence to link Mr Falzon with the acid, in one sense it really doesn't matter because as long as that acid is linked to the joint criminal enterprise undertaken by Falzon and O'Brien, then that suffices to found the proceeds assessment order."

The court has reserved its decision. - APN NEWSDESK

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