AN ARMIDALE accused of enslaving one of his former partners has been refused bail after police located a hidden automatic rifle on his property.
James Robert Davis was 32 when he began dating the university student aged 21, the NSW Supreme Court was told on Monday.
Not long after he discussed having a dominant-submissive and polyamorous relationship with her, he then brought BDSM into their lifestyle, Justice Mark Ierace said.
The 40-year-old was arrested in March following allegations he forced the woman into sex work but kept all the money she made.
He faces three Commonwealth charges of reducing a person to slavery, possessing a slave and causing a person to enter servitude between 2013 and 2015.
The Crown case is she was a willing participant at first, but over time the relationship changed into a psychological, financial and physically abusive relationship.
The 40-year-old former Australian Defence Force member strenuously denies all allegations with his lawyer saying he led a strange life, but nothing was illegal.
At one point he was living with six women on his rural property he co-owns with one of his current partners in the rural outskirts of Armidale.
One young partner has since been removed by authorities but the remaining five women all support his release.
Davis' barrister Ian Lloyd QC said there was no chance Davis was a flight risk due to COVID-19 and other factors, and a family member had offered up $30,000 as a surety.
But Justice Ierace refused Davis bail noting concerns after police officers searched his property for a second time in April.
Officers found a trunk buried beneath soil containing the weapon along with nine magazines containing 30 rounds, and another box containing 175.
Mr Lloyd said a journalist had filmed more than 180 hours of video footage showing a "lifestyle not lived by everybody".
But these recordings showed none of the women were his slave, and if played before a jury could take up to nine weeks alone in what would be "a lengthy and detailed examination of polyamorous relationships and BDSM," Mr Lloyd said.
The alleged victim says she was not allowed to remove her slave collar, but Mr Lloyd says all women in the house had an Allen key to unlock them if they wished and they were simply "play-acting".
The lawyer noted Davis was not charged with assault despite the Crown accusing him of breaking his alleged victim's eardrum.
A doctor's report noted she had been "wrestling with her boyfriend," while Mr Lloyd said his client was teaching her mixed martial arts when the "accident" occurred.
The Crown also argued some witnesses were worried about possible retribution for coming forward.
The trial will see "ample corroboration," of evidence in the crown case, including witnesses to injuries and a contemporaneous notebook by the major complainant herself, prosecutor Rebekah Rodger said.
Mr Lloyd earlier argued his client had already been subject to "sensational journalism" and held major concerns regarding his right to a fair trial he estimated would not begin before 2023.
The alleged victim came forward following an ABC's Four Corners program about Davis.
Australian Associated Press
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