A former Finks bikie who claimed public notoriety when he defaced a mural of George Michael in 2017 has been arrested in Sydney allegedly in possession of firearms and cocaine.
Ben Gittany, 26, was arrested by members of Strike force Raptor at his Oatlands home yesterday.
Police allegedly found a semi-automatic rifle, shotgun, ammunition and cocaine.
They also seized phones and equipment they claim would be used in the distribution of drugs.
Gittany was charged with acquiring a prohibited firearm-subject prohibition order, possessing an unregistered firearm-prohibited firearm, acquiring etc firearm – subject to prohibition order, possessing an unregistered firearm-not prohibited firearm/pistol, acquiring ammunition subject to prohibition order and breach of bail.
He was refused bail by police to appear at Parramatta Local Court on Thursday when his lawyer Elie Srour applied for bail with a $150,000 surety if he lived with his sister at North Parramatta.
Mr Srour told the court Mr Gittany breached the bail by seeing his partner so she could drive him to a parole appointment. He was forbidden from seeing her under his bail conditions for drug supply charges.
Mr Srour said the prosecution case was weak and evidence could not prove Gittany was in possession of the firearms seized yesterday until forensic examinations had concluded.
The court heard police seized the guns from an underground storage at the property where another man was present but told to leave without being questioned.
“In my respectful submission, the prosecution case lacks strength at least in this point of time, in the matter in terms of possession,’’ Mr Srour said.
“Once forensics are analysed, and Mr Gittany says he is absolutely confident his fingerprints don’t come back on the firearms, he has never touched them.’
The prosecutor said Gittany had multiple offences and community release orders, and had breached firearm orders, with more charges likely after firearm forensics had concluded.
“He has a criminal history littered with offences,’’ she said.
“This is a defendant that shows a blatant disregard and a man who has criminal associations … there are clearly unacceptable risks that cannot be mitigated.’’
Magistrate Tim Keady said Gittany posed a risk to the community and the chief concern was that he was in the company of a woman he was not supposed to see following bail conditions for previous drug charges.
The matter was adjourned to January 21.
Gittany made headlines when he painted over a mural of George Michael in Erskineville soon after the pop star’s death on Christmas Day, 2016.
He was filmed declaring “I’m defending my religion” while he smeared black paint over the artwork.
The mural depicted the late singer as a saint wearing a robe, crucifix and a halo.
Gittany told a court he saw photos of the mural online and asked someone to take him there.
He said he was a Catholic and believed the work was “offensive to me because it was a mural of Jesus holding drugs in full view of everyone”.
He was ordered to pay $14,000 in compensation for the damage to the mural.