Justice has been postponed for a skipper who admitted to possessing about 200 kg of cocaine in a failed attempt to import illegal drugs at sea.
Justice has been delayed for a skipper who admitted to being in possession of approximately 200 kg of cocaine in a thwarted attempt to import illegal drugs.
Jake Laurens Hurkmans, 28, was due to be sentenced Monday after nearly 16 months in custody, but a NSW District Court was told the case was “not quite finished”.
Hurkmans has pleaded guilty to possession of a commercial amount of an illegal border-controlled drug and reckless handling of the proceeds of a crime.
On March 3 last year, the South Australian man drove his fishing boat from Taren Point in southern Sydney to the Royal National Park, where he stopped at a 330-metre container ship.
Hurkmans was arrested when he returned to Botany Bay in Sydney. During a search of his boat, the police discovered 11 plastic containers containing about 200 kg of cocaine.
Police allege that Hurkmans unloaded the commercial amount of cocaine from the container ship to his own boat while the boats were at sea.
Police estimate the blocks of cocaine were worth $230,000 at wholesale price, though they claim the street drugs could cost three times the price.
At the time of Hurkmans’ arrest, police said it was the third thwarted attempt to import commercial quantities of a drug into Australia since the start of the pandemic.
The 28-year-old was due to be sentenced Monday in a NSW District Court, but his lawyer told the court the case was “not quite ready” to be concluded.
The court was told that the skipper had not been able to meet with his lawyer while in custody to discuss the details of his conviction.
“I need some time to talk to my client. I have not been able to arrange an interview date with him,” the lawyer said.
He asked for a postponement to allow “enough time to” prepare for the sentencing, which is expected to last three hours.
The court will hear multiple affidavits, a report, and possibly some oral evidence in support of Hurkmans.
His lawyer, however, again signaled a possible suspension on Tuesday to prevent “serious injustice”.
Judge Christopher O’Brien granted the suspension, but noted that there may be no availability in court on Tuesday.
“I can’t guarantee you a judge today, so I certainly can’t guarantee you one tomorrow,” he said.
Hurkmans returns to court on June 28 to be sentenced.