Freedom bid for Mackay mum accused of faking son's death
A FREEDOM bid for a mother accused of helping her Mackay businessman-turned-international-fugitive son flee the country has abruptly stalled over claims of a missed opportunity.
Elizabeth Anne Turner is charged with allegedly lying about her millionaire son's death and helping him leave Australia ahead of his supreme court trial for cocaine smuggling and trafficking.
Ms Turner's case was listed for a bail application in Mackay Magistrates Court today.
Magistrate Damien Dwyer formally charged the 64 year old this morning, telling the court she was accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice between July 1, 2013 and September 15, 2017 and helping "Markis Scott Turner to abscond from Australia".
"You are further charged that on April 21, 2016... you gave false testimony ... in a judicial proceeding namely the Supreme Court of Queensland," Mr Dwyer said.
The maximum penalties for those offences are 10 years and five years respectively.
Ms Turner has been in custody since Sunday.
The matter had to be stood down on Monday because Ms Turner had to be taken from Mackay watchhouse to hospital following her arrest in a joint operation between Australian Federal Police and Queensland Police Service.
This morning Mr Dwyer questioned Ms Turner's Brisbane-based solicitor Alex Jones about a particular part of the bail application.
"What did you mean by paragraph 35?" Mr Dwyer said.
"Your Honour, exactly that. The investigation seems to have been afoot since 2015. At no point during that time has she had the opportunity," Mr Jones, of Bosscher Lawyers, said.
Mr Dwyer said he would adjourn the bail application for two weeks to allow "the opportunity". "If you're going to persist with that Mr Jones I'm going to give the opportunity to do so," Mr Dwyer said.
Mr Jones said that was in the application "as a matter of fact".
"It is certainly probable that she would decline the opportunity," he said.
The bail application was adjourned until August 15 and Mr Dwyer said he expected AFP officers "to get onto the matter straight away".
A full brief of evidence is due on September 27.
Markis Turner was arrested in May 2011 for his alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar cocaine syndicate.
He is accused of importing more than 71 kilograms of cocaine from South America into Australia after the AFP seized barrels of hydraulic oil containing the alleged drugs at Mackay railway yards.
Mr Turner had been on bail when the case was set down for trial in September 2015, but he did not show up.
Police allege his mother deliberately misled judicial proceedings.
In 2016, Ms Turner told the supreme court she had not contacted her son for several weeks and was of the view he had taken his own life.
Police allege she also helped her son skip the country by buying and preparing a yacht for him while he was out on bail.
Property and cash totalling $395,000, which was fronted to secure his bail, was forfeited to the court following his disappearance.
After a two-year international operation, Mr Turner was arrested in the Philippines in September 2017 where he remains in custody.
Mr Dwyer told Mr Jones if the AFP officers addressed the issue immediately he would be able to bring the case on early.