Perre a 'puppet master' in drug operation

Accused National Crime Authority bomber Domenic Perre has faced court on drugs charges.
Accused National Crime Authority bomber Domenic Perre has faced court on drugs charges.

The man charged over the bombing of the National Crime Authority office in Adelaide has been likened to a "puppet master" in his role in an unrelated drug trafficking operation.

Domenic Perre appeared in the District Court on Thursday after pleading guilty last year to drug charges over a cannabis crop in the South Australian Riverland.

In sentencing submissions, prosecutor Ryan Williams told the court that while it was put that the 61-year-old was only in the background in relation to the drug operation, he had actually inserted himself into the middle of transactions to supply cannabis.

"He was no more in the background than a puppet master in a puppet show," Mr Williams said.

The prosecutor said Perre had shown no genuine remorse or contrition over the drug offending and continued to be uncooperative with prison officials.

The court was also provided with a letter, written by Perre when he was initially taken into custody over the NCA bombing in 1994, which Mr Williams said showed his persistent contempt for authority.

Though Judge Rauf Soulio said it was a long bow to draw between Perre's current behaviour and that of 26 years ago.

The court previously heard that Perre had a number of serious health issues including high blood pressure and diabetes, and would be a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and becoming seriously ill while in prison.

But Mr Williams said all those health issues could be properly managed in custody.

Judge Soulio will sentence Perre on the drug charges in September.

Perre has also pleaded not guilty and will stand trial by judge-alone in October charged with murder and attempted murder over the NCA office blast which killed Detective Sergeant Geoffrey Bowen and injured lawyer Peter Wallis.

He was arrested in 2018 following a joint investigation, lasting more than two years, by a number of state and federal authorities including the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

He had been charged shortly after the bombing, but the charges were later withdrawn.

At a previous hearing in Adelaide Magistrates Court, Perre's defence argued that the only new evidence against him was a "conga line of informants".

The court was told those people were all "motivated by self-interest" and were "unconstrained by morality".

The NCA bombing has been one of South Australia's highest-profile cases, with a $1 million reward offered in 2008 for information leading to the conviction of the person or people responsible.

Australian Associated Press