16 Feb 2024

Former world champion athlete pleads not guilty to drug charges in Auckland

5:00 pm on 16 February 2024
Auckland court coat of arms.

The man is charged with importing cocaine and possession of cocaine for supply. Photo: RNZ / Patrice Allen

A former world champion athlete has pleaded not guilty to drug charges in Auckland District Court on Friday.

The man, who has name suppression, appeared in court charged with importing cocaine, as well as possession of cocaine for supply. He is charged alongside four other men.

The maximum sentence for the both charges is life imprisonment.

On Friday, the man elected to have a trial by jury.

His representation, Dale Dufty, applied for bail on his behalf.

He argued it was "unjust" for the man to be denied bail for the potential lengthy period of time leading up to trial.

Police opposed the application on the grounds there was a risk he might fail to re-appear in court, he may interfere with witnesses or evidence, and a risk he may offend while on bail.

Judge Manuel denied the bail request, saying she accepted the possible risks outlined by the prosecution.

The man was remanded in custody and is expected to reappear in court next month.