Accused used 'cars' and 'chainsaws' to refer to meth, court told

8:42 pm on 29 May 2017

Two men accused of running a methamphetamine ring spoke to each other about cars, chainsaws and tyres, in coded references to the drug, a jury has been told.

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The two men have gone on trial in the Wellington High Court. Photo: RNZ / Aaron Smale

Clint Helmbright and Lewis Padden have gone on trial in the High Court in Wellington.

The former is accused of 11 counts of supplying methamphetamine, two of offering to supply the drug and two of possession of methamphetamine for supply.

He is said to have dealt the drug in several places between August and October 2013, including in Rotorua, Carteron and Upper Hutt.

Lewis Padden is accused of supplying methamphetamine to Mr Helmbright on five occasions.

Justice Thomas told the jury the case was a retrial, but to focus on this trial and not be concerned about what had happened before.

In his opening address, Crown lawyer Alex Winsley said Mr Helmbright obtained methamphetamine, some of which came from Mr Padden, and on-sold it to others.

He said police obtained a warrant to listen to conversations between those involved and also observed meetings between the defendants and others, including on 28 August 2013.

"This is an example of a series of meetings which... when put together with text messages and phone conversations, the Crown says is evidence of a methamphetamine supply from Mr Padden to Mr Helmbright.

"The supply took place during that meeting and then Mr Helmbright went on to arrange meetings with others."

Mr Winsley told the jury Mr Helmbright had already been convicted of supplying another man with methamphetamine on that date.

He said evidence of drug dealing was also gathered during a search of Mr Helmbright's Plimmerton home in October 2013.

"They found a small amount of methamphetamine in a wallet on the kitchen bench and various cellphones."

Mr Winsley said another search the same day at Mr Helmbright's Rotorua home revealed other drug-dealing items.

"They found in a bedroom drawer a set of working digital scales and small plastic bags."

"Those are items [a drug expert will say] are commonly associated with drug dealing - measuring small amounts of powder, for instance that would be methamphetamine, and packaging it for sale."

Mr Winsley said no drugs were found at Mr Padden's address.

Mr Padden, who is representing himself, denied involvement in the methamphetamine trade.

He told the jury he was a panel beater, and had been employed by Mr Helmbright to work on six of his vehicles.

"Even after the raids had gone through and we'd all been arrested, it was such a big job that I carried on.

"Money and assets [were] seized off me so my friendship with Clint was pretty stretched, but I still finished it because I had an obligation to the car dealer to stop him going bankrupt."

Mr Padden said it was easy for police to claim he was supplying methamphetamine because at the time Mr Helmbright was meeting him, he was also meeting other people.

He pointed to a transaction on 28 August 2013 that had been highlighted by police.

"The only thing I did was gave his car back that I'd finished repairing.

"He picked up the vehicle and whatever he did during that day, doesn't mean I'd put drugs... I had finished [the repairs], there was an invoice, it was a warrant of fitness job."

The trial is being heard before a jury of eight women and four men and is expected to run for at least three weeks.

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