Being diagnosed with COVID-19 is "very sad", but it is not a special or exceptional circumstance that warrants another chance on bail.
That was magistrate James Stewart's view on Friday as he remanded alleged money launderer Fasil Jember in custody.
Mr Jember, 29, was appearing in the ACT Magistrates Court after being arrested in Phillip on Thursday, when police forced their way into a Grand Central Towers apartment using "tactical rams".
Documents tendered to the court allege Mr Jember was sitting inside on a lounge with "a very large dog" at the time in question.
Officers who searched the place allegedly found "large crystalline rocks", suspected to be methamphetamine, inside a spectacle case by Mr Jember's feet.
They also claim to have discovered cannabis and "a white powder", suspected "deal bags", electronic scales, three mobile phones, a double-bladed hunting knife and a shotgun round in the property.
Police allege Mr Jember, the only person in the Phillip unit at the time, was living there in breach of bail conditions that required him to reside at a Kaleen address.
The 29-year-old's conditional liberty related to five charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Thursday's arrest resulted in four new charges, which were possessing a drug of dependence for sale or supply, possessing a prohibited substance, possessing a prohibited weapon, and possessing ammunition.
Mr Jember did not enter pleas to those on Friday, when he fronted court via audio-visual link from the nearby police watch house.
His solicitor, Jacob Robertson of JDR Law, said Mr Jember had tested positive for COVID-19 since being taken into custody.
Mr Robertson relied upon both the diagnosis and what he said was a weak prosecution case as he applied for Mr Jember to be released again.
He said these things amounted to special or exceptional circumstances, which the 29-year-old needed to establish to have a fresh bail application considered.
Mr Robertson told the court Mr Jember would have to isolate for at least 14 days as a result of his diagnosis.
This, he said, would "create significant issues" for Alexander Maconochie Centre authorities and other inmates if the man was remanded in custody.
The lawyer also said Canberrans were dealing with the coronavirus "admirably", and it was still exceptional to be diagnosed when such a small proportion of the ACT's population was actually infected.
Turning to the strength of the prosecution case, Mr Robertson said the things found in the apartment were not necessarily Mr Jember's.
He said the items were not found on his client's person, and they may belong to someone else who was not there at the time.
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Prosecutor Bwalya Chifuntwe argued the threshold for special or exceptional circumstances had not been met, saying Canberra's jail was "well and truly equipped to deal with positive cases of COVID".
Mr Chifuntwe said Mr Jember was the only person in the apartment when police attended, and the items of interest had been found "in close proximity to the defendant".
Mr Stewart agreed with the prosecutor that the relevant threshold had not been met.
"The issue of COVID is a very sad one, but it's one the community is dealing with together at the moment," the magistrate said.
He also said "the mere fact" of a positive test was not special or exceptional in his view when the Alexander Maconochie Centre was capable of dealing with people who had the coronavirus disease.
The magistrate further expressed a view that Mr Jember seemed to have a case to answer in terms of the new charges.
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