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May 7, 2021

Alleged ice dealer bailed for cancer treatment

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The Lismore courthouse. (file pic)
The Lismore courthouse. (file pic)

A Kyogle man charged with the commercial supply of 402 grams of the drug ice has been granted bail by the court to undergo treatment for throat cancer before he stands trial.

Thomas John Kedwell appeared at Lismore Local Court on Tuesday via videolink from Sydney’s Long Bay jail hospital, coughing and clearing his throat.

Mr Kedwell’s solicitor Jim Fuggle said his client had been suffering from throat cancer and recently underwent a complete laryngectomy.

The 64-year-old faced charges of supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug, supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis, possessing a prohibited drug, cultivating less than a commercial quantity of cannabis and supplying greater than an indictable quantity of a prohibited drug.

Police allege Mr Kedwell and two co-accused regularly travelled to Queensland to obtain the drugs, which they sold to Northern Rivers customers, from May to September 2016.

During this period, police obtained a warrant and recorded numerous telephone calls and text messages they will allege were related to the ongoing sale of ice, the court has previously heard.

Mr Kedwell and his two co-accused were arrested and charged last September, with all three subsequently granted bail.

When he failed to report to police and inform them he was changing address at Christmas, a warrant was issued and Mr Kedwell was arrested earlier this year and refused bail.

In applying for bail on Tuesday, Mr Fuggle said Mr Kedwell required ongoing cancer treatment and he tendered a medical report on his condition, which had also been provided to Justice Health.

‘He has arranged treatment for two months,’ Mr Fuggle said.

‘The advantage of that is that family are located on the Northern Rivers to support him.’

Justice Health are able to arrange Mr Kidwell’s treatment at facilities in Sydney, the court heard.

‘It would be a much better situation of he was allowed to be in an area where he has access to family support,’ Mr Fuggle said.

Mr Fuggle said Mr Kidwell conceded, if convicted, he would receive a lengthy custodial sentence.

He acknowledged when Mr Kidwell breached bail by failing to report to police, he handed himself in to officers after several weeks.

In opposing bail, the prosecution said Mr Kidwell was on a good behaviour bond when he committed the alleged offences, he had previously breached bail and parole, he was disqualified from driving after being detected with drugs in his system and the case against him was strong.

Magistrate David Heilpern acknowledged the allegations against Mr Kidwell were ‘at the high end of the scale’ involving commercial quantities of ice, the strong crown case involving telephone intercepts and the fact he had waived his right to a committal hearing.

‘The defendant is now chronically ill,’ Mr Heilpern said.

‘The defendant has throat cancer and there is a high level of care needed to manage his condition.

‘The risk of contacting witnesses of committing further offences is quite low due to his current medical condition.

‘He has strong family support, his brother is here and has arranged accommodation for him.’

Mr Heilpern granted Mr Kidwell conditional bail while undergoing treatment, not to contact any witnesses or co-offenders and not to take alcohol or drugs unless prescribed by a doctor.

When his treatment is over, Mr Kidwell must notify the court of his new address, and he must not be away from his residence for more than 24 hours at any one time.

Mr Kidwell’s matters are next listed before Lismore District Court on June 14.

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