No bail to ice user for alleged extortion bid on businessman

COVERT film footage, that shows drug user Michael Anthony Irwin buying ice from two people inside the bedroom of a Gladstone house, nailed him for the offences.

But Irwin, 48, stays in police custody after he was refused bail when police strongly objected before Gladstone Magistrates Court, alleging he tried to extort money from a wealthy businessman using threats.

Despite being fitted with a heart pacemaker, the former rigger and crane driver admitted being an ice user.

Prosecutor Sgt Barry Stevens told magistrate Mark Morrow there had been a protracted criminal investigation over drug movements into the Gladstone region.

Identified as being part of a drugs distribution network, police searched a house in New Auckland where they found hard drives connected to CCTV cameras which detectives then downloaded.

Sgt Stevens said it shows Irwin at two different times in January entering the house and going to an upstairs bedroom where he speaks to two people, hands them cash and then is given a clip-seal bag that held ice.

Irwin, held in the dock, pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing methylamphetamine on January 9 and 11.

He entered no plea to a more serious charge of extortion with a threat, on September 18 last year.

Defence lawyer Jun Pepito said Irwin suffered depression and was diagnosed with a heart condition.

Sgt Stevens said the extortion charge against Irwin was made following an incident last September.

He said Irwin, with some associates, went to a home where a man and his wife were sleeping and knocked on a roller door.

Police allege that when the man opened the door, Irwin (falsely) accused him of interfering with children, saying "you owe them money as they are doing it hard".

"Get the money by lunch time. Or I'll put you in the boot of the car, take you for a drive", the scared man was allegedly told.

Mr Morrow fined Irwin $1200 for the two drug charges and adjourned the extortion charge. He also faces a serious drug matter in the District Court.


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