Criminals don’t receive their GPS tracking devices until seven days after being ordered to wear it.
Criminals don’t receive their GPS tracking devices until seven days after being ordered to wear it.

Seven day wait for criminals’ GPS trackers

ACCUSED criminals ordered to wear GPS ankle trackers while on bail are walking free for seven days because police cannot get the device on the Gold Coast in time.

The time lapse means the alleged criminals are roaming the Gold Coast with no way for police to track their whereabouts.

When asked about the delay a Queensland Police spokeswoman said: "The GPS monitoring devices are dispatched centrally from Brisbane".

GET A NEW SET OF HEADPHONES WITH YOUR DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION

Steven Edward Smith was ordered to wear an ankle tracker after being accused of stabbing millionaire Paul Picone. Picture: Nicolas McElroy
Steven Edward Smith was ordered to wear an ankle tracker after being accused of stabbing millionaire Paul Picone. Picture: Nicolas McElroy

There is never one waiting on the Gold Coast, meaning they have to be transported from the state capital every time a Southport magistrate orders one be fitted.

Police declined to say how many devices were in circulation and how much they cost due to "commercial in confidence considerations".

The Bulletin has also learned that even when the bracelets are fitted they are not monitored full time, meaning an alleged offender could be breaching bail for hours, or even days.

Two magistrates in Southport Magistrates Court recently ordered trackers be fitted in two different cases, only for the court to be told it would take seven days for police to get to it.

Campbell MacCallum, of Moloney MacCallum Abdelshahied Lawyers.
Campbell MacCallum, of Moloney MacCallum Abdelshahied Lawyers.

One case involved Steven Edward Smith, 34, who is accused of stabbing millionaire Paul Picone in a Mudgeeraba park this month.

The second case involved Darren Rose, 47, who allegedly supplied drugs as part of a multimillion-dollar Hells Angels ice trafficking ring.

It is not suggested either of these men are breaching their bail conditions.

The ankle bracelets issued on bail are part of a 12-month State Government trial costing taxpayers $2.5 million.

Once fitted, the tracker relies on the alleged offender charging it for at least two hours a day and not damaging, removing or defacing the device.

The ability to issue trackers has only been in place since May and the two cases in Southport are among the first on the Gold Coast.

After the courts granted bail to Smith and Rose, they were told to come back seven days later to be fitted with the bracelets.

Criminal Lawyer Bill Potts pictured in Southport office. Picture: Mike Batterham
Criminal Lawyer Bill Potts pictured in Southport office. Picture: Mike Batterham

The lawyer for both men, Campbell MacCallum, of Moloney MacCallum Abdelshahied Lawyers, said he did not understand the delay.

"The magistrates are now not allowing police to dictate to them how long someone waits in the watchhouse for the device to be fitted," Mr MacCallum said.

Mr MacCallum said he believed police could fit the devices in a shorter time frame than seven days.

He also said alleged offenders were having to agree to "additional conditions" that were not a part of their bail.

The accused criminals must sign a police document titled "Associated conditions of a tracking device condition", which has 16 points for them to follow.

The new GPS Tracker. Pic Annette Dew
The new GPS Tracker. Pic Annette Dew

"(I must) prevent interference with the device to render it inoperable, cause damage to, destroy, remove, deface, adjust or alter the tracking device or enlist another to do so," the document said.

"(I must) ensure that the tracking device remains charged at all times and ensure that the device is charged continuously for a minimum of two hours per day."

GET A NEW SET OF HEADPHONES WITH YOUR DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION

Other conditions include answering their mobile phone or immediately returning missed calls from police, allowing police to visit where they are staying to inspect the device, contact the watchhouse if there are any issues with the device and "ensure the tracking device and all equipment supplied are kept safe and secure".

Bill Potts, of Potts Lawyers, criticised the use of the bracelets before they were introduced in May. And he hasn't changed his mind.

"They are not monitored in live time," he said.

"If there is an issue … on a Friday night, nothing is probably going to happen until Tuesday."

Mr Potts said the devices also relied on the 3G network which in some areas could be unreliable.

The police spokeswoman said police were considering other distribution options as a part of the ongoing trial.

"The hardware is continuously monitored with action taken against anyone who tampers with or causes damages to the devices," she said.



1500 new police coming across state

1500 new police coming across state

Biggest influx of recruits in more than 30 years

Kalin loses her locks for a worthy cause

Kalin loses her locks for a worthy cause

Local girl shaves head for the Leukaemia Foundation

New committee steer Buccaneers ship on right course

premium_icon New committee steer Buccaneers ship on right course

New divisions could include womens and under 8s

Local Partners