A man will face trial accused of plotting to rob a Grafton hotel.
A man will face trial accused of plotting to rob a Grafton hotel. Trevor Veale

Armed robbery plan foiled by police

A PLOT to rob a Grafton hotel armed with knives was foiled by police after they cottoned on to the group's secret code, a court heard.

Keegan Laurie, 27, appeared before Grafton Local Court on Monday charged with robbery armed with offensive weapon and conspiracy to commit offence.

The Tabulam man's application for bail was refused and he is due to stand trial for the charges later this year.

According to police facts tendered to the court, Mr Laurie and four other men were involved in a plan to enter the Five Mile Hotel armed with knives on August 26, 2016.

Police will allege the group were using fishing terms such as 'Let's go for a fish' and 'We're going turtle diving' as code to communicate their plans.

Police facts allege just after 9pm the five men left a Grafton home on their way to commit the offence, trailed by a marked police car.

According to court documents, after crossing the Grafton Bridge, the group quickly accelerated and U-turned, throwing three kitchen knives, dark T-shirts and a black pillowcase out the passenger window as they attempted to make a getaway.

Police facts allege Mr Laurie was a willing participant in the planned robbery to fund his drug habit.

Police facts allege induced statements from two co-accused confirmed the plans and use of fishing terms as a code.

Magistrate Karen Stafford denied bail and said Mr Laurie's history of non-compliance with court orders and failure to appear was too high a risk to take.

She said there "appeared to be a strong Crown case" that Mr Laurie would take bail as a chance to run.

"There is a maximum of 20 years for this charge so there is a strong incentive to flee," she said.

The Crown pointed to Mr Laurie's extensive criminal history and failure to appear in court on numerous occasions.

Mr Laurie's solicitor submitted the offence was a "dated" matter, with charges not laid until July 2018.

She also said her client would be subject to parole, could report to Casino Police Station and adhere to a curfew.

Ms Stafford rejected the solicitor's submission as she said Mr Laurie had not stayed out of trouble in the period before charges were laid.

The court was told Mr Laurie was currently serving a sentence for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The other men will be dealt with separately.