ABSCONDING: Cocaine drug bust suspect Markis Turner, from Mackay.
ABSCONDING: Cocaine drug bust suspect Markis Turner, from Mackay.

Mackay fugitive's mum risks jail over son's $385k breach

THE mother of one of Australia's most wanted fugitives risks jail if she does not pay the rest of the $385,000 owed to the state over his breach of bail.

Mackay mining millionaire and alleged drug importer Markis Scott Turner disappeared without a trace in the lead-up to his 2015 trial.

His wife and children fled the country and have not returned.

Elizabeth Anne Turner signed off on the generous bail surety so her son would be released from jail while awaiting trial on a number of serious drug charges. Australian Federal Police allege he was part of a plan to import a 50kg shipment of cocaine into Queensland.

Following Mr Turner's 2013 committal hearing at Mackay, his mother paid a $70,000 deposit and agreed to forfeit $450,000 should her son breach his strict bail conditions.

More than two years later, just weeks before he was due to stand trial, a warrant was issued for Mr Turner's arrest.

He had failed to report to police and was presumed to have fled the region and possibly Australia.

Documents before the court showed his wife and children flew out of Brisbane to Poland but there was no record of Mr Turner joining them. All attempts to contact Mr Turner were said to have failed.

Mr Turner was given the chance to appear in court and explain himself on October 28, 2015 but had not showed up.

In May, 2016, Ms Turner was ordered to forfeit the $70,000 deposit permanently and pay the rest of the agreed surety which the court reduced to $315,000.

Ms Turner told Brisbane Supreme Court last year she suspected her son had killed himself but Justice Peter Flanagan dismissed her theory as "entirely circumstantial".

Ms Turner appealed on the grounds her son did not receive the original notice that he was expected to appear in court in November, 2015 and as a result she was not liable to hand over the money.

But the Court of Appeal found a notice to appear had been served at Mr Turner's bail address and by law, that was enough.

It also found Mr Turner, by absconding, had contributing to "wasted costs and wasted time" in the already overburdened justice system.

A panel of three judges dismissed the appeal on Friday.

Ms Turner will have to pay the remaining $315,000 to the state. Failure to pay incurs a penalty of 12 months in jail.

ARM NEWSDESK


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