Oates considers bail, again

FORMER Bond Corp executive Tony Oates is considering a fourth bail application, hoping that the presence of his wife in Perth and the purchase of an Australian business will help sway the WA Supreme Court.

Mr Oates has been in Canning Vale’s Hakea Prison since June last year after Federal authorities were successful in a seven-year effort to extradite him from Poland, where he works in the brewing industry.

His lawyer, Sydney-based Mark Webeck, told WA Business News that advice was being sought by Perth barrister Patrick O’Neal on whether the arrival of Mr Oates’ wife Jola will prove adequate enough to meet a test of changed circumstances required to reapply for bail.

“In order to renew his bail application he needs to show changed or new circumstances,” said Mr Webeck, who is chairman of partners, commercial litigation at NSW firm Michell Sillar.

Mr Webeck also said that Mr Oates had sought to acquire a small business in Western Australia, a development that could also add to an argument for changed circumstances.

The new developments will be used to show the court that Mr Oates is not a flight-risk and that, if granted bail, he will stay in Australia for his trial, which is expected to start in August and last several months.

Mr Webeck said it was difficult to adequately conduct the defence of such a complex case if his client remained behind bars until the trial.

The evidence in the case goes back to 1989, involves 189 witness statements and about 4,500 documents.

Mr Oates faces trial on 15 charges from the Bond Corp takeover of Bell Group in the late 1980s. Most of the charges relate to the former WA companies code, under which he is accused of acting dishonestly as a director and using his position improperly.

There is also one charge of conspiracy under the WA criminal code.

Mr Webeck said Mrs Oates had obtained a visa to enter Australia.

“The reason [for obtaining the visa] is [that] her physical presence in Perth would minimise the flight-risk,” Mr Webeck said.

“It is up to the court to make conditions, which may include surrendering of the passport as well.”

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