A TRUCK driver says he stumbled across more than $2.4 million cash in bushes on the side of the road, a claim a magistrate has labelled “ridiculous”.
Adrian Miller, from Melbourne, lost a bid for bail when he faced Mildura Magistrates’ Court yesterday after his arrest at Merbein South in April.
His barrister conceded the haul was “odd” and "[didn't] smell right" but claimed it wasn’t enough to lead to a conviction.
Giving evidence to the bail hearing, First Constable Jack Phelan said Mildura police pulled Miller over on the Sturt Highway about 6am on April 5 for a licence check.
Police found the haul of cash, split into two suitcases and a duffel bag, in the otherwise empty truck along with a small quantity of ice and heroin, the court heard.
Constable Phelan said Miller told police he found the cash after he got a flat tyre and went into the bushes to get a stick.
Miller said he saw the three bags and took them back to his truck where he saw the money.
He said he took a photo of the cash when he arrived in Renmark, the court heard. Miller, who was withdrawing from heroin, was arrested and later taken to Mildura Base Hospital as a precaution when he tried to flee from custody, the court heard.
Constable Phelan said he had to be tackled to the ground by police and custody officers.
The court heard evidence included Facebook messages which talked about Miller receiving $100,000 for trips to Perth. The prosecution opposed bail based on his risk of reoffending, fears he was a flight risk – noting he was possibly in multi-million dollar debt to an unknown criminal syndicate – and fears for the safety of the community.
Defence barrister Adam Baker submitted the case against Miller was weak with no evidence direct criminal links to the cash.
“The only inference that can be drawn is that there must be something more to it because it’s peculiar,” he said.
“That wouldn’t be sufficient for a conviction.
“It’s odd, it doesn’t smell right ... but is that sufficient?
“It smells bad but you need to go one step beyond that.”
Prosecutor Briana Goding denied the police case was weak, saying the amount of money found in conjunction with his explanation, the emptiness of the truck and the route it was taking all inferred a criminal connection.
Magistrate Andrew McKenna said Miller’s account was “ridiculous” and no one would give someone $2.4 million to take from point A to B.
“Even the best winners on the punt don’t get $2.4 million or even close to $2.4 million in cash,” he said.
In denying bail, he said Miller was vulnerable to re-offending and was a risk of flight.
Miller will be back before the court in October for a committal hearing which will hear from a police witness.
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