The former owner of the Ballarat’s controversial Haida nightclub has faced court for importing drugs of dependence, portions of guns and ammunition from the Philippines.
Tony Henderson, faced the Ballarat Magistrates in June faced with a string of historic charges including importing tier two goods such as portions of firearms, ammunition, human growth hormones, steroids and gun magazines.
The court heard Henderson was sent various pieces of a gun, including a pistol frame from the Philippines in January 2014.
The court was told these items were intercepted through customs at the Melbourne Airport in Tullamarine.
The Australian Federal Police were alerted of the contents inside a package addressed to Henderson and conducted forensic testing which found the metal pieces were elements of a firearm.
The court was told the Australian Federal Police then raided Henderson’s Ballarat house in January 2014 finding bags of suspected steroids and other gun paraphernalia.
Henderson ran the ill-fated Haida nightclub in Camp Street in 2014 when 15 Finks bikies, all wearing gang clothing, "forced" their way into the nightclub shortly after midnight on June 5, 2014.
The bikies assaulted a security guard before assaulting staff and patrons and stealing cash from a register.
The bikies threatened staff to turn off CCTV cameras and tried to remove the cameras.
The police said the raid was planned, with Finks bikies travelling from Tasmania, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne to help their Ballarat counterparts.
The nightclub closed in the months shortly after the raid.
The incident resulted in Ballarat police raiding seven premises across Ballarat, including the Fink's clubhouse, and arresting two men.
Ballarat Finks sergeant-at-arms Anthony Martelli club treasurer Chad Salvemini, 36, and Graham Hudgson, later pleaded guilty to affray, other weapons and drugs charges and were fined.
In the recent hearing on Henderson's offences, a Ballarat court was read various email exchanges from the time between the Haida bar owner and man called “Marcus” who resided in the Philippines.
In one of the exchanges, Henderson told Marcus to stop sending him firearm pieces.
In another he told him the Australia Federal Police were cracking down on gun importation.
But his defence lawyer Mike Wardell said Henderson was importing the drugs to “bulk himself” up but never ordered the gun pieces or ammunition and was unsure why those items were sent to him.
Mr Wardell said Henderson remained “oblivious” as to why the gun pieces were being sent to him.
But despite denying he ordered the pieces of the firearms, the court heard Henderson continued to transfer the money required to the man in the Philippines because he was fearful of the consequences if he did not pay.
“This escapade started off with him trying to make himself look more imposing so he wouldn’t end up being kicked around by anyone in his nightclub,” Mr Wardell said.
“But he began to spiral into a world of paranoia.”
He said Henderson began dabbling in human growth hormones because he was “gullible naive, self absorbed and self-obsessed” and wanted to appear intimidating to anyone who attempted to cause trouble at his nightclub.
Mr Wardell told the court Henderson was now unemployed, had lost all his businesses and investment properties, had suffered a heart attack and was battling depression as a result of the stress caused by the Australian Federal Police investigation.
Ballarat magistrate Gregory Robinson took into account Henderson's lack of prior convictions and remorse and fined him $1500 for charges related to drug importation and $5600 for the charges relating to importing pieces of firearms and ammunition.