A Wollongong jury has retired to determine whether a Brownsville man knew that a yellow box delivered to his address contained not pyjama pants branded with a Home Alone quote, but cocaine hidden inside packets of chocolate cake mix.
Stephen Alan Fenn has pleaded not guilty to one count of attempting to possess a marketable quantity of an unlawfully imported drug.
He is accused of knowingly accepting a package from Ireland that had - until it was intercepted by police - contained over 300 grams of pure cocaine, contained within Cadbury's 'moist chocolate cake mix' boxes, or having been reckless to the package containing the drug.
At Wollongong District Court on Friday, defence lawyer Patrick Schmidt said the Crown case relied on circumstantial evidence, all of which had a reasonable alternative explanation.
Mr Schmidt said Fenn had only the "slightest blemish" on his record, drink-driving in 2014, and was a man who had served the country, worked full-time and had a loving family.
"What the Crown wants you to accept is an otherwise law-abiding citizen... has attempted to possess over 150 times the traffickable amount of cocaine," he said.
Mr Schmidt asked jurors to consider their own experiences accepting deliveries when assessing what occurred in October 2021 when a police officer posing as a delivery driver took the package to Fenn's home - did they ask them to wait as they inspected the parcel?
Mr Schmidt said an unidentified man with an Irish accent, who made a call to DHL enquiring about the parcel on October 5, 2021 knew that police had intercepted the parcel, and suggested to the jury that there would have been a warning to others involved in the importation plot.
Had Fenn known this, he asked, would he have accepted the delivery?
Mr Schmidt said Fenn left the box on his coffee table, a laissez-faire attitude which suggested he had no idea what was inside, but there was no evidence to support the Crown assertion that he knew not to open the package.
Fenn faced a police interview less than an hour after delivery, he said, not enough time to concoct a story, yet he was "logical" and "plausible".
Mr Schmidt said that when police searched his home, there was nothing - no burner phones, drug paraphernalia or unexplained wealth - of interest besides the package.
The Crown argued that conversations between Fenn and longtime friend Danny Nikolovski about a "vaccine passport" were code, but Mr Schmidt told the jury the men were anti-vaxxers and were discussing the actual proof of COVID vaccination needed to attend certain venues at that point in time.
The jury was told Fenn was unwittingly used in the importation plot.
"The unfortunate reality is, scapegoats are used by criminals all the time," Mr Schmidt said.
The jury will continue their deliberations on Monday.
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