IMPERIAL Hotel publican Michael Foxman has been ordered by a court to leave Tamworth after he was charged with attempting to influence two more witnesses.
Foxman was arrested by Oxley licensing police on Wednesday morning and charged with two counts of acting with intent to influence witnesses, allegedly in September and late January in Tamworth; as well as breaching his bail.
But the publican has now been banished from running his pub, and from Tamworth, as part of a long list of conditions put in place by the court.
Seated in the dock wearing a Colorado State University construction management t-shirt, shorts and sneakers, Foxman lodged a fresh bid for release.
In a lengthy bail application in Tamworth Local Court, magistrate Peter Thompson said it was a strong Crown case; Foxman had initially come to court for licensing issues in relation to the pub, but the fresh allegations were "serious".
He said higher courts "must treat seriously" the issue of interference in judicial proceedings, and it carried seven years' jail.
Foxman already faces charges of intimidation and acting with intent to influence a witness last year; as well as other matters connected to a licensing investigation at the Brisbane Street hotel, the court heard.
Mr Thompson detailed the new allegations, and said despite the defence's assertion that the "witnesses have an axe to grind", "in my view, it is a very strong case".
"It appears to be an attempt to provide ... or have affidavits provided," he said of two people who were past or present employees.
He said there was a further risk of interfering with witnesses because the allegations "show someone who has a level of power ... over people in the community".
Mr Thompson said it was a "genuine concern" because Foxman "was already on bail" for a similar charge.
The court heard Foxman had to show cause for his release because he was already on bail for similar matters; and because the fresh charges carry a maximum penalty of more than five years' imprisonment.
Mr Thompson said the case had been referred to the DPP, meaning it could be dealt with in the district court and "it may cause further delays".
"I reluctantly am of the view that cause has been shown," he said.
Mr Thompson imposed bail on conditions that "require you to leave the Tamworth area".
THE BAIL CONDITIONS
Police prosecutor Sergeant Matt Pawsey said this eliminated the risk of "physical interference", but there was "potential interference with other forms of electronic communication", because the charges were "aggravated by the fact he has those matters" that he was already on bail for.
As part of the bail, Foxman has to live in Bondi with family; and must not contact witnesses in the case or any current or former employees of the Imperial Hotel, except his mother or sister, who can run the hotel.
He also has to forfeit his passport; must not approach any departure point; and must not re-enter Tamworth unless for court.
I require him to report every day ... because I require him to stay in the Sydney metropolitan area.Magistrate Peter Thompson
"I require him to report every day ... because I require him to stay in the Sydney metropolitan area," Mr Thompson said.
Foxman is prohibited from using any social media whatsoever; must give police all his business mobile numbers and email addresses; provide $2000 surety; and have another person post $5000 in surety to secure his release.
He will front court again in March, when his other charges are listed for hearing.
THE BAIL APPLICATION
His solicitor asked for his phone back, after it was seized by police, but Mr Thompson said: "I have no power to deal with that", and "if it's part of an investigation and it needs to be [scanned]", he would have to wait.
In the bail bid, solicitor Geoff Archer said Foxman suffered from several medical conditions including anaphylaxis and was allergic to nuts, mould and dust; and it would be a "very dangerous position should Mr Foxman be remanded in custody".
Sergeant Pawsey said: "He's at risk of [that] wherever he is."
Mr Archer also told the court the hotel employed 37 people and "today was payday".
"If Mr Foxman is not able to get to a bank and to a phone ... [it's] going to cause enormous difficulties to those persons," he argued.
The court heard Foxman had no criminal record; it would be his first time in custody; and he had no other family in Tamworth to live with or care for his dog.
He said Foxman had commitments to provide security information for the hotel, and the position of the business "would be in jeopardy" and "would have a knock-on effect" for the Tamworth community already battling the drought.
Mr Archer said the witnesses "have axes to grind" and "some of them are disgruntled former employees" of the hotel.
He said the "motive of these people to make these allegations against Mr Foxman" would be tested in court because "they're allegations that are strenuously denied".
He said Foxman's day in custody "has been a savagery experience" and although he had strong local ties, he would "have a bit of a sabbatical at the moment" in Sydney, and not use social media.
"He would agree not to have anything to do with the hotel," Mr Archer said.