A Narrandera man accused of going on a 10-day crime spree involving eight separate break and enters has been refused bail as he awaits trial.
Dustyn James Morgan, 27, was arrested last September and charged with 16 offences after police uncovered a host of material allegedly linked to the break-ins at his home. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Mr Morgan is accused of stealing a car, computers, phones, knives, beauty products, a 338-piece tool set, and 240 kilograms of dog biscuits among many other valuable items.
Solicitor David Barron made a case for Mr Morgan’s release in Wagga Local Court so he could attend a full-time residential rehabilitation program at Calvary to address his underlying drug issues.
“We're talking about trading one form of custody for another – he'd be going from full-time custody out at Junee Jail to a full-time residential rehabilitation unit,” Mr Barron said.
The Crown alleged Mr Morgan stole a set of car keys from one break and enter, used the car in an attempted larceny at a car wash, engaged in a police pursuit, and later dumped the vehicle after a break and enter in Grong Grong.
The court heard a torch found in that stolen car had Mr Morgan’s DNA on it, while shoe prints found in the same area matched a pair of adidas sneakers later found in his house, which also had his DNA on it.
However, Mr Barron raised several issues with those allegations.
“There were four swabs taken from those shoes – three of those swabs from the same pair of shoes come up with a mixed profile, which suggests more than one person wore those shoes, and swab three does identify my client,” Mr Barron said.
“[The torch] is the only thing that links my client to this car and it’s a torch – it could have been picked up by anyone anywhere… it doesn’t make him the driver of the car.”
However, while she admitted the case against Mr Morgan was circumstantial, Crown prosecutor Lisa Hanshaw said it was still a strong case.
“The Crown would suggest that this is a strong circumstantial case, given the property located at the accused’s premises, the DNA in the car that was stolen, other break and enter property found in that particular car, and the shoe prints and analysis,” Ms Hanshaw said.
“The similarity between the break and enters, including the face covering, the shoe footprints… it is one person that did them all.”
Magistrate Christopher Halburd ultimately denied Mr Morgan bail, reasoning that a hypothetical sentence for the crimes he is accused of committing would be greater than his time awaiting trial in custody.
“It’s a period in custody that would have a non-parole period of a lot beyond the period for which he’s likely to be in custody awaiting trial, given that it seems there are some District Court trials here in March or April next year,” Mr Halburd said.
Mr Morgan will appear before the District Court on October 12 when he will be formally arraigned and a trial date will be set.
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