A man alleged to have possessed a loaded handgun and almost $18,000 in cash at a supermarket car park in Eaglehawk allegedly “took steps to threaten” another person with the same weapon months earlier, a caught has heard.
Joe Szabo, 49, unsuccessfully applied for bail at Bendigo Magistrates’ Court, with Magistrate Patrick Southey deeming him an unacceptable risk to public safety.
Police informant Senior Constable Brendan Rooney told the court that on June 5 Szabo attended an address in Kangaroo Flat, and allegedly pointed a gun at another man following a disagreement.
The court heard the threatened man jumped into an awaiting taxi, telling the driver to “go, go, go”.
More than two months later, on August 23, the court was told Szabo was arrested by police in an Aldi car park in Eaglehawk, in possession of what police allege was the same six-millimetre silver handgun, $17,830 in cash, 1.8 grams of methamphetamine, three grams of cannabis, four viagra tablets and suboxone strips.
Police also located a laptop, which they allege contained messages relating to the sale of drugs, namely methamphetamine.
Senior Constable Rooney told the court police searched a storage unit in Kangaroo Flat on August 28 and allegedly located eight rounds of ammunition – which police allege was the same calibre as those located in the handgun Szabo was found with – electronic scales, snap lock bags and numerous computer hard drives.
Police allege some of the electronic devices seized contain evidence of communications referring to the sale and purchase of drugs.
Szabo’s defence lawyer, Jacob Kantor, said his client had a severe mental illness and had been living an itinerant life following the breakdown of his marriage.
Mr Kantor told the court Szabo had not failed to appear at court before and should not be considered a flight risk, and it was imperative Sazbo was out of prison due to an impending property settlement.
“It’s not a done deal that this man would spend time in custody,” he said.
Magistrate Patrick Southey said “someone who is willing to carry and knows how to find a handgun is an enormous concern for public safety”.
“Mr Kantor has put the all the mitigating factors in a very attractive and persuasive fashion. But at the end of the day you’ve been caught red-handed with a handgun which in my view is extremely serious..and in June you were willing to take steps towards threatening someone with it,” he said.
“It seems to me there’s a lot of evidence by way of large quantity of cash, bags, conversations, electronic scales, that you're a drug trafficker who has with him a loaded handgun.”
Szabo, who was charged with trafficking methamphetamine, being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, and other weapon and driving offences, will reappear in court on October 4.