Suppression lifts on meth importation accused

Name suppression has lifted on two men charged with a $50 million methamphetamine importation from Mexico, and they have been remanded in custody again.

Michael Harrison-Cooper, 31, and Johnathon Seal, 25, are charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply and importing methamphetamine.

They were arrested last week as part of the police and customs Operation Grandeur investigation, and were remanded in custody to appear by video-link from the prison.

Name suppression was granted until 1pm today, but defence counsel indicated they were not seeking the orders to continue and Christchurch District Court Judge David Saunders said the suppressions would lapse immediately.

The pair were the first two video-link appearances at the new Justice and Emergency Service Precinct which opened for District Court business today.

Police and customs allege 40 packages of 1kg to 1.2kg were concealed within a shipment of safety lights.

Counsel for Harrison-Cooper, Pip Hall QC, asked for the case to be adjourned to December 4 for another appearance by video-link from the prison. He said consideration would be given to making an application for Harrison-Cooper’s release on electronically monitored bail at his next appearances.

Seal, who also faces charges of wilful damage and injuring with intent to injure, was remanded to the same session. Defence counsel Steve Hembrow also said an electronic bail application may be made at the next appearance, and pleas would be entered.

He agreed that the name suppression could lapse immediately, but asked for suppression of the name of the business to which drugs were allegedly sent. Judge Saunders granted that suppression after checking that the police did not oppose it.

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