Police allege tow truck driver had stolen car on his truck

A TOW truck driver police allege had a stolen car on his truck, has been refused bail when he went before Ipswich Magistrates Court.

Police had opposed bail for Taulapapa Taufao.

Taufao, 41, from Bellbird Park, had been held overnight in the police watch house, and is charged with unlawful possession of a motor vehicle at Redbank on Tuesday, May 19.

Prosecutor Sergeant Brad Dick said he is subject of a suspended jail sentence when arrested and charged, and police fear he was an unacceptable risk of further offending, or failing to appear at court.

Taufao was also on bail for other matters including unlawfully receiving a firearm.

Sgt Dick said he also has two outstanding charges of failing to appear for which he had received bail on one of despite police opposing it.

"He is found at the scene. He is alleged to have made admissions to knowing the vehicle was stolen," Sgt Dick said.

"He had the keys and was putting it on the back of a tow truck."

Lawyer Kelsea Read, in making the application, agreed Taufao had been on bail for other charges including receive a tainted property charge and been reporting to police twice weekly.

"Police say it is a strong case. I say not," Ms Read said.

"He is said to be in possession of the vehicle key. He is only alleged to have been in possession of the key. It is denied by my client."

"It is a contested charge."

Ms Read said because all hearings, trials, had been suspended because of COVID-19 and Taufao would be at risk of serving excess time in custody.

She said it was not conclusive that he would receive jail time if the charge was proved.

But acknowledged Taufao had a Supreme Court suspended sentence now hanging over his head.

She said he was an auto mechanic and would agree to strict bail conditions that would include a curfew.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said the police allegation was that a car had been stolen overnight with Taufao being found in possession of its key when operating a tow truck at 8pm upon which was the car.

She noted that he is alleged to have said to police he was aware someone had stolen it.

He was now on a suspended jail sentence after being convicted of trafficking dangerous drugs, with lesser charges of fraud and receiving tainted property.

She said he'd been granted bail on March 30 then failed to appear.

Ms Sturgess refused the bail application and remanded Taufao in custody, his matters to be mentioned on June 3.



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