Bumbag thrown by alleged Adelaide drug dealer allowed to be used in trafficking trial
- Police tried to pull over Andrew Flint for riding a bike without lights
- They found him and allegedly $273,000 worth of drugs in a nearby front yard
- A court found evidence of the bag could be used in his trial
Andrew Walkem Flint had previously won a similar case, also in South Australia’s District Court.
Mr Flint claimed the police were trespassing when they picked up the bumbag from the unfenced garden in November 2014 — a suggestion rejected by Judge Simon Stretton in a decision handed down last week.
Mr Flint’s trial for trafficking methamphetamine and cannabis will now go ahead using the evidence.
Police say Mr Flint was riding his electric bicycle in the beachside suburb of Henley Beach South at 4:30am on November 3, 2014, when police tried to pull him over for not having lights.
Instead, he sped away and police found him hiding in a front yard nearby.
They say he threw a bumbag into bushes in the garden before riding into police and being arrested.
Police retrieved the bumbag from about three metres within the property and allegedly found $273,000 worth of methamphetamine in it.
They then searched his Tennyson house and allegedly found more drugs.
High Court case cited in decision
Mr Flint claimed retrieving the bumbag was illegal because they did not ask the property owner’s permission to enter.
He said they were trespassing so the evidence should be excluded.
Citing a High Court case, Judge Stretton said police “had an implied licence to retrieve the accused’s bumbag from the front yard of the property in question”.
The High Court ruled in 1984 that the public could enter a property and go to a house’s entrance to communicate or deliver to the person in the dwelling.
“In all the circumstances there was an implied licence to briefly access an open and unrestricted part of the front yard for a few seconds to retrieve an item just discarded by a trespasser on the property, unconnected with the property, reasonably suspected to be stolen property or evidence of an offence,” he said.
“Accordingly, the seizure was lawful, and there is no basis to exclude the evidence on the basis of an unlawful search.”
He also found that police were “entirely reasonable” to suspect that the bumbag might contain stolen property or material related to a criminal offence.
One of the two police officers involved in the recent arrest also searched Mr Flint’s car in 2016 and allegedly found drugs in the boot.
He took that case to court.
Last year, District Court Judge Liesl Chapman found the search was illegal because the constable was “motivated by an improper purpose” when pulling Mr Flint over for doing a U-turn without indicating because he already suspected him of being a drug dealer.