Cannabis raid trial ordered

A GLEN Waverley woman charged over one of last year’s biggest drug busts in the Ballarat region has been committed to stand trial. 

Sih-Yu Wu, 31, is charged with having trafficked and cultivated a commercial cannabis crop after a police raid on a drug-manufacturing house in Alfredton on September 3 last year. 

Wu, flanked by a Vietnamese interpreter throughout the committal hearing at Ballarat Magistrates Court on Wednesday, said she intended to plead not guilty to all 10 drug and theft related charges against her.

She was ordered to attend a directions hearing in the County Court in Ballarat on August 28 by magistrate Michelle Hodgson. 

Wu’s defence lawyer Jess Owen cross-examined police informant Senior Constable Gavin Lawry during the hearing, where the court heard Wu, along with a co-accused, were seen attempting to flee the Alfredton property. 

Wu was apprehended by police but the co-accused fled and was later brought into police custody. 

The court was told DNA evidence linking Ms Wu to the property was found on one of four gloves sent to police forensics for examination.

The defence argued Ms Wu used this glove to take a rubbish bin out when she visited the property on September 3 and that Ms Wu was visiting her friend, the co-accused, at the time of the police raid. 

Mr Owen said the evidence was circumstantial.

He said a jury would not be able to “rationally exclude (an) inference of innocence” if the matter was taken to the County Court. 

Office of Public Prosecutions prosecutor Justin Lewis said, while the evidence was circumstantial, “the jury might well conclude the idea that someone would take you to a crop house, which is a serious criminal enterprise, is a highly unlikely circumstance”. 

Ms Hodgson said she was satisfied the “reasonable inference of innocence” could be excluded by a jury.

Wu, who was previously deemed a flight risk, had applied to regain possession of her passport and working visa to gain employment while she awaited trial. 

Ms Hodgson allowed Mr Owen’s firm, Defteros Lawyers, to retain custody of Wu’s travel documents and only provide photocopies to a potential employer if they were deemed legitimate.