The brother of NSW Deputy Premier and Police Minister Paul Toole has been released on bail after a judge found it was “unacceptable” he was kept in solitary confinement for 23 and a half hours a day.
Josh Toole was arrested and charged in Newcastle for his alleged role in a drug supply syndicate operating across the Central Coast and Hunter regions.
Police allegedly located and seized $2m worth of methamphetamine and $220,000 in cash during raids on homes in Belmont North, Nords Wharf and Wadalba, in October.
The matter was heard by the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday where Justice Julia Lonergan allowed Mr Toole’s release on bail for a security of $500,000.
The court heard Mr Toole is currently in solitary confinement for his own “personal safety” due to his brother’s high profile as NSW Police Minister.
Justice Lonergan said in court Mr Toole is currently locked up for 23 and a half hours each day with just 30 minutes set aside for exercise.
The court heard Mr Toole feels like a “caged animal” and a “wreck”, and that his mental condition has worsened during his time in custody.
“It is unacceptable for a community member to be locked up 23 and a half hours a day,” Justice Lonergan said.
Mr Toole has remained in these conditions since he was detained on October 14, the court heard.
“I think that’s entirely unsatisfactory,” Justice Lonergan said.
“There doesn’t seem to be much consideration for basic human rights.”
The 38-year-old is facing eight charges including supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug, knowingly directing the activities of a criminal group, participating in a criminal group to contribute to criminal activity, and five counts of supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis.
Mr Toole’s bail conditions require he wear an ankle-bracelet, not take any legal or prescription drugs, and not use any device with an internet connection.
The $500,000 security must be paid by surrendering the title deeds to a Glendale residence and under the agreement that the value be forfeited if he fails to appear before court.
Mr Toole is also not allowed to approach or communicate with any prosecution witness or co-accused person.
He must also report to the police station daily between the hours of 8am and 6pm.
The matter will return to Belmont Local Court on December 7.