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Cocaine trafficker loses fight to overturn guilty plea again

A COCAINE trafficker has lost a second fight to overturn his guilty pleas for importing the drug from Thailand and selling it in Queensland.

Steven Peter Verrall argued in the Queensland Court of Appeal that his pleas were equivocal, entered through circumstances that amounted to a miscarriage of justice and the primary judge erred in not setting them aside.

Justice Cate Holmes found no miscarriage of justice had occurred when she delivered a judgment, supported by two other Court of Appeal justices, on Tuesday.

"One gains a strong impression (Verrall's) complaint is really that, on reflection, he considers his lawyers should have found some technical defence for him," she said.

"The conclusion I reach is that there was no pressure placed on (Verrall) to plead guilty."

The Sunshine Coast man pleaded guilty in 2009 amid overwhelming evidence he received the cocaine through Australia Post post office boxes, a private mail box service and through courier service deliveries to residential addresses.

Police found the fake identification used to open the boxes, the SIM card for the phone used on application forms, handwriting matching Verrall and a hotmail account with many saved messages in the drafts folder.

The latter was how Verrall would communicate with his Thai contact who had the login details too.

Police had also intercepted 12 cocaine packages entering Australia and also nabbed him on money laundering for 171 Western Union money transfers to Thailand, totalling about $141,000.

Topics:  cocaine drug trafficking queensland court of appeal


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