Remands on fraud, drugs charges in racing industry

Four people facing charges of deceptive practice and drug use, arrested in a police investigation relating to the harness racing industry, have been remanded at the Christchurch District Court.

Judge Tony Couch took the unusual step of suppressing the details of all the charges and would only allow the general nature of the charges to be reported.

He refused name suppression for two of the men but one of them will appeal that decision to the High Court and has been given until Friday to file the necessary papers.

A 26-year-old shed hand, Matthew Anderson, of Woodend, was charged with obtaining by deception and drugs charges, was remanded on bail without plea to September 11. It is understood that others arrested as a result of the police investigation will be appearing that day.

Anderson’s defence counsel Philip Watts sought interim suppression but it was refused by Judge Couch. His bail has conditions that he not attend horse racing meetings, trials, or work-outs.

He is also charged with three charges of supplying a class B drug, and one charge of possessing the drug for supply.

A 49-year-old Christchurch man was remanded on bail to September 26 on charges of supplying, offering to supply, or possession of various sorts of drugs. Defence counsel Linda Drummond asked for interim suppression because of the high level of interest in the case and because identification was an issue. Police did not oppose the order. Judge Couch granted the order which applied to his name, address, and occupation.

A 30-year-old Christchurch man was charged with offering to supply a class B drug, and offering to supply it to several other people, as well as unlawful possession of a restricted weapon. He was remanded without plea to September 26, but when Judge Couch refused name suppression, defence counsel Andrew McCormick said it would be appealed to the High Court and the order has been continued until the hearing, if papers are filed.

A fourth man, Elie Georges Sawma, a Papanui hairdresser, aged 42, faced nine charges of supplying or offering to supply the class B drug, ecstasy. He was remanded on bail to October 4, without plea. No suppressions were sought in his case.

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