Buddhist monks fear a disability support pensioner will seek retribution against their Canberra monastery after they turfed him out over his alleged involvement in "an Asian crime syndicate".
But a magistrate has ordered Geoffrey Andrew Russell's release from custody after hearing the alleged drug trafficker has suffered "tens of seizures" in jail while being denied his epilepsy medication.
Mr Russell, 38, applied for bail on Wednesday when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court via audio-visual link from the Alexander Maconochie Centre.
Court documents reveal he had been behind bars on remand since October 16, when police confiscated five bags of cannabis and more than $10,000 in cash allegedly discovered in his room at a Lyneham monastery.
Items including a Taser-style weapon concealed within a plastic toy phone, capsicum spray and an extendable baton were also allegedly uncovered during a search.
Investigators claim that since then, they have found "a multitude of messages referencing the sale and supply of cannabis on [Mr Russell's] phone", along with suspicious cash deposits of up to $19,000.
Mr Russell is yet to enter pleas to charges of trafficking in cannabis, possessing suspected proceeds of crime and three counts of possessing a prohibited weapon.
Police urged against him being released on Wednesday, with officers saying in a bail consideration form that he might endanger the safety of others after being "evicted" from the monastery.
"The defendant is aware that other residents of the monastery have been filming his illicit drug distribution and they fear that he will return and seek retribution against them," the form said.
"The monks hold concerns that the defendant will return and cause harm or damage ... if granted bail."
Police went on to allege that Mr Russell had asked family members to help him deal drugs and launder money, and that those people also feared repercussions after refusing to do so.
Mr Russell might even be in danger himself as a result of the October police raid, according to the document.
"The defendant is involved with an Asian crime syndicate and police hold concerns that he will face retribution for the loss of the illicit substances and money as a result of his apprehension," the form said.
Legal Aid lawyer Sam McLaughlin, representing Mr Russell in court on Wednesday, urged Magistrate James Lawton to take the document with "a large grain of salt" because some of the claims appeared to be lacking support.
He described the amount of cannabis confiscated as "modest at best" and said this was the first time his client had been charged with an offence since 2016, indicating he would be able to comply with bail conditions.
Mr McLaughlin also argued Mr Russell should be released for the sake of his health after being forced to endure "tens of seizures" in jail while "very limited steps" were taken to get him his medication.
Any risk of interference with evidence was now lowered, the lawyer went on to say, by the fact that police had already had more than a month to examine the 38-year-old's phone and take statements from witnesses while he was in custody.
Prosecutor Isabella Coker opposed bail and cited the concerns in the police documents about a large number of people fearing retribution from Mr Russell.
She also said the case against him was strong, and that people linked to criminal syndicates were always likely to commit more offences.
The 38-year-old's lack of employment, Ms Coker argued, placed him at an even greater risk of offending to "fund his lifestyle".
But Mr Lawton ultimately decided to grant bail, imposing conditions including that Mr Russell not contact certain people or go to the monastery other than once with a police officer to collect his things.
The case returns to court in January next year.