ONE of the alleged ringleaders in a drug ring, who police claim was dealing ice, has been released on bail to undergo a residential rehabilitation program.
Peter Joseph Lennan admitted to charges of possessing testosterone and using an unregistered vehicle, which has allowed him to enter the Balund-a rehab program.
He appeared via video link from a Cessnock prison where he is being held on drug supply charges including participating in a criminal group and supplying on an ongoing basis - a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment.
Magistrate Julie Soars had earlier told Tamworth Local Court: "Absence of plea of guilty; I don't see how Balund-a bail can come into existence."
Solicitor Yvonne Phillipos lodged the bail bid and said more time was need in the case before entering pleas to the more serious charges.
"On the fact sheet, Mr Lennan played little role," she said, labelling it a "weak" case and comparing it to that of Lennan's co-accused and partner, Rikki May Lea Stranlund.
"There needs to be some negotiations with the Crown."
Prosecutor Sergeant Rob Baillie said there were transcripts, records of interview and statements still outstanding.
The court heard Lennan had been refused bail in April by a Gunnedah magistrate despite offering "surety of $200,000", but two new charges and the Balund-a acceptance meant he could show a change in circumstances to allow the fresh bail bid.
Lennan said, "Love you, Dad" to his father in the court, and became visibly "quite emotional" as legal and family matters he was experiencing were detailed in court.
Obviously he has had a significant drug history in the past as well.Solicitor Yvonne Phillipos
"It's been a very, very difficult time," Ms Phillipos said.
"Obviously he has had a significant drug history in the past as well."
Ms Phillipos said the strict Balund-a program meant Lennan wouldn't be able to associate with his co-accused or partner, and the prosecution said Lennan would be technically in "Correctives' custody" in the program.
"I note the prosecution is not opposing bail," Ms Soars said, granting his release.
"You should treat this as a one-off program ... treat it as an opportunity, a turning point in your life."
Lennan was arrested during a police raid on a Baker Street property in Gunnedah on February 28.
Strike Force Munderrah, a covert police operation by Oxley detectives, alleges Lennan was the head of the criminal group.
Police allege the case against Stranlund and Lennan involved multiple drug transactions in August and September, where methylamphetamine was sourced from the Upper Hunter area to return to Gunnedah to on-sell.