Jury unable to reach verdict in jail drug ring trial
A Brothers 4 Life gang member who allegedly used a secret code to direct a drug ring from a NSW jail has had his trial discontinued after the jury failed to reach a verdict.
Bassam Hamzy was on trial in a Sydney court over allegations he sold methylamphetamine while incarcerated, giving directions through his lawyer Martin Churchill to gang members outside.
Judge Antony Townsden discharged the Downing Centre District Court jury on Friday, when it failed to reach a majority verdict after 35 hours of deliberations.
Hamzy faced one charge of supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug, allegedly using coded messages to direct that a dealer, referred to as Witness I for legal reasons, sell ice to a Wagga Wagga woman.
In these phone calls, Hamzy allegedly used words like "barrister" and "solicitor" to refer to drug deals, prices and amounts, crown prosecutor Adrian Robertson told the jury during the trial.
"I've got the money available for the barrister," he said in one phone call covertly recorded by police.
Surveillance by police also spotted Witness I trading drugs with the woman.
A total of 16 ounces was sold on five separate occasions between October 10, 2017, and February 25, 2018. While the woman paid $5000 per ounce, Witness I received $3500 with Hamzy allegedly taking the remainder as his cut.
He was charged with one count of knowingly dealing with $14,000 which he knew was the proceeds of crime obtained from his drug business.
Hamzy faced one further count of hindering police apprehension of another gang member, known as Witness A, allegedly wanted by police for serious indictable offences by transferring him $4000 in cash.
Defence barrister Dennis Stewart said his client denied the allegations.
Hamzy did not participate or direct the drug deals but contacted Witness I to engage in "legitimate business", the jury heard.
"Witness I had to assist Mr Hamzy to move forward a number of different legitimate business projects such as a project to import and distribute a large quantity of footwear (and) distribution of a large quantity of bathroom accessories," Mr Stewart said.
Hamzy admitted giving Witness I the contact details of the Wagga Wagga woman, who also cannot be identified, but said he did so because he thought the Brothers 4 Life member could help her and her family.
"Any drug supply that took place between Witness I and (the woman) was by their own agreement," Mr Stewart said.
Claims Hamzy was involved in the drug trade in this instance were lies made up by Witness I, jurors heard.
The $14,000 alleged to be proceeds of crime was money that came from legitimate sources and Hamzy did not transfer the $4000 to Witness A with the specific intention to prevent his arrest, his lawyer claimed.
Hamzy was refused bail and the matter will be back in court on June 2.