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Accused dealer a muso and gig organiser, court hears

David Anthony O’Brien says he’s a legitimate gig organiser and part-time musician.

But police and prosecutors say he is a violent cocaine dealer who hasn’t lodged a tax return in years.

The 51-year-old has been committed to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court accused of subjecting an ex-partner to prolonged assault and confinement.

The accused man made a bid for bail today, offering to put up a cash surety and abide by strict bail conditions.

O’Brien has pleaded not guilty to assaults occasioning actual bodily harm, attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm and unlawful confinement.

He has also pleaded not guilty to a string of drug-related charges still before the ACT Magistrates Court.


He stands accused of two counts of cocaine trafficking and two counts of cocaine supply, as well as possessing cocaine, cannabis and dextromethorphan or “DXM”.

Prosecutor Anthony Williamson said investigators found 981 grams of cocaine when they executed a search warrant on O’Brien’s home in August.

But the defendant’s counsel, Jack Pappas, told the court the drugs were in fact found beneath an adjacent property.

The barrister said the occupants of that property said they put a deadlock on the door to the area underneath the house a year earlier, and questioned how anyone could have got access to the space.

Police also allege they found more than 17,000 text messages on his phone, among which they claim are “a significant number” relating to drugs.

The court also heard they spoke to several people allegedly identified through O’Brien’s phone who implicated him in drug dealing.

The prosecution opposed bail yesterday, arguing O’Brien posed a risk of reoffending or skipping bail if released from custody.

But Mr Pappas said the argument his client posed a danger to the community “simply doesn’t hold water”.

O’Brien entered the witness box today and spoke of his role booking gigs for three NSW pubs run by a family member – the Astor and the Tattersalls in Goulburn and the Royal in Queanbeyan.

The accused man said he booked bands and entertainment for the venues and occasionally played with his band at the clubs and across Canberra.

But Mr Williamson said if that was true it was “implausible” O’Brien couldn’t name any bar or catering staff working for the NSW venues.

The court heard police investigations suggested he hadn’t lodged a tax return since 2005, although O’Brien said he missed the last two years and was “a little bit slow”.

Three witnesses also told police O’Brien was unemployed

Mr Pappas, however, said one was the alleged assault victim and another was a former partner living interstate whose information was apparently years old.

Acting Chief Justice Richard Refshauge will hand down a decision at a later date, and O’Brien remains in custody.