Meth traffickers to pay $7m under proceeds of crime

A COURT has ruled that two men from Rockhampton and Mackay who made and sold meth between 1997 and 2003 will have to pay $7 million each under the proceeds of crime laws.

This is half of what the State Government was seeking.

Rockhampton man James Thomas O'Brien was, in 2008, convicted of trafficking and producing meth at Ilbilbie.

Mackay man Michael Paul Falzon was convicted the following year.

Last year it was ordered that both men pay $14 million under proceeds of crime.

But Falzon appealed this and today the appeal was found in his favour.

Falzon argued that he should not have to pay any amounts.

The Court of Appeal this afternoon upheld his appeal, but ordered that both men should pay $7 million each, not $14 million each.

In the judgment, Justice Robert Gotterson said the appeal had to succeed because the previous judge should not have based the amount the men owed from the amount of acid they accessed to produce the meth.

Justice Gotterson said the previous judge found the men had enough hypophosphorous acid to make 200kg worth of meth, but the actual evidence was that they had acid to make between 100kg and 310kg of the drug.

"The only evidence of the actual weight likely to have been produced from it based on common practice was 100 kilograms of methylamphetamine," Justice Gotterson said.

"The finding that was open, and ought, to have been made was one that was consistent with that evidence."

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