Gun-toting bikie gets a Christmas gift from the courts
A bikie charged with firearms and drugs offences has been released on home detention bail - in part because of ballooning delays in getting a trial before the District Court.
Mark Barford, 57, is charged with possessing a loaded handgun which was disguised as a Christmas present and placed under the tree in his house in December 2019.
On Friday, after three unsuccessful attempts at applying for bail, Barford appealed to the Supreme Court and was granted home detention bail.
Justice David Lovell heard that Barford was unlikely to face a trial on drug trafficking charges related to 67g of methamphetamine allegedly found in the back of his home until 2022.
In releasing Barford on bail, Justice Lovell said the lengthy delay, combined with the bikie's health issues, were special reason to grant bail.
The court heard that COVID-19 restrictions on jury trials had caused the waiting list of matters to "blow out".
Barford is accused of being a member of the Descendants, a prescribed outlaw motorcycle gang.
However, Nick Vadasz, for Barford, said his client had joined the Descendants when they weren't really a bikie gang - "more of a motorcycle club".
Mr Vadasz said his client, who has a limited criminal history since being charged with methamphetamine-related offences in 1992, was merely a motorcycle enthusiast.
Barford and his son Adam were arrested on December 14 last year after a loaded handgun and methamphetamine stash were allegedly found at their Modbury North home.
A magistrate has previously heard that police officers rang Barford's mobile and heard him tell his son to remove a black and gold package from under the tree and hide it in the toilet.
Police allege that Adam Barford was trying stuff the gun, which was wrapped in a sock, placed in a container and then wrapped in Christmas paper, down the S-bend of the toilet when police entered the house.
Mark Barford returned to the home a short time later and was arrested.
Justice Lovell heard that Barford had indicated he would plead guilty to possessing the firearm, but only if the charges against his son were dropped.
Police allege that Adam Barford was acting on his father's instruction and was trying to hide the gun.
The methamphetamine stash was found under a water tank in the backyard of the property.
Barford indicated the low-purity meth was his, but contested that he had intended to sell it to anyone else.
Mr Vadasz said his client had used the drug as a way of lifting his mood and giving him energy after serious knee surgery.
Barford had injured his knee following a motorcycle accident near Alice Springs where his son Adam crashed after swerving to avoid a cow.
Barford had believed his son had died in the crash and seriously injured his knee scrambling down the slope to be at his side, the court heard. Both father and son were flown to hospital for treatment.
Barford will spend Christmas at home but will be on strict home detention conditions ahead of his next court date in the new year.
Originally published as Gun-toting bikie gets a Christmas gift from the courts