ACT News


Judge remands 'promoter' on fears he will reoffend

Police believe a live music organiser facing serious drugs and violence charges committed perjury in the witnesses box at a recent bail application.

But David Anthony O'Brien remains locked up on remand after a judge said there was a real risk of him committing drug offences or interfering with witnesses.

O'Brien, 51, is facing drug charges ranging from the supply and trafficking of cocaine to the possession of a prohibited dry cough syrup and cannabis. He is also accused of viciously beating his ex-partner, and has pleaded not guilty to unlawful confinement and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Police have alleged O'Brien was stashing the cough syrup and more than 900 grams of cocaine in a storage space beneath his neighbour's house.

A search on his house also allegedly turned up cannabis and cash, leading to charges of money laundering and possessing the proceeds of crime.

It is further alleged police found 25 grams of cocaine in his car - which was allegedly unregistered and had improperly fitted number plates.


Police also allege they found more than 17,000 text messages on his phone, with a ''significant number'' relating to drugs.

O'Brien had come to the attention of police a few days earlier after he and his injured then-partner arrived at hospital. She would allege he punched her in the head up to 12 times, refused to let her leave the apartment and, when he agreed to take her to hospital, told her to say she was assaulted in a club.

In October, O'Brien told the ACT Supreme Court he was a legitimate gig organiser and part-time musician who booked bands for pubs in Queanbeyan and Goulburn.

He told Justice Richard Refshauge he did business with music promoters Frontier Touring and worked at the Royal in Queanbeyan.

But prosecutor Anthony Williamson on Wednesday said police had investigated these claims and had the evidence to disprove them.

He said investigators believed O'Brien lied in the witness box and, should he be bailed, would arrest him for perjury.

Mr Williamson asked Justice Refshauge, who was ready to rule on the bail application, to let him reopen the case to lead the new evidence.

O’Brien’s lawyer, Kamy Saeedi, opposed the move and said the Crown case could only be reopened in exceptional circumstances.

The judge said it was too late to admit the new evidence and rejected the application, but proceeded to dismiss O’Brien’s bid for bail.

Justice Refshauge said while decisions about potential risk couldn’t be based on mere suspicion and speculation there was a “real risk” of reoffending – specifically in relation to drugs – if O'Brien was released.

He said the live music scene in licenced venues was “an excellent milieu in which to traffick in drugs”.

The judge said he was also concerned O’Brien might interfere with witnesses.