A ROCKHAMPTON restaurateur has been committed to stand trial, accused of running a clandestine drug laboratory at his Italian bistro and of raping a girl.
Owner and manager of Di Carlos Italian Restaurant Joseph Halaby yesterday showed no emotion as he was committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court at Rockhampton on 19 charges.
Joseph Halaby pictured before the opening of Di Carlos Restaurant.
Halaby, an Australian born in Jordan, entered no plea during the committal hearing in Rockhampton.
It is alleged his Fitzroy St restaurant was used to produce an undisclosed quantity of methamphetamine.
Magistrate Barry Cosgrove described it as a complex case of “inextricably intertwined charges”.
The court heard Halaby possessed the necessary chemicals and laboratory equipment to produce dangerous drugs, which he ultimately supplied to minors.
As well as the drug related charges, Halaby is accused of procuring a young girl, under the age of 16, for sex.
It is alleged he plied her with drugs, exposed her to pornography and raped her.
The court heard witness statements suggesting a knife may have been used in the attack.
Police prosecutor Karen Dunham submitted evidence she said included a stain on a pair of the girl’s briefs from semen containing Halaby’s DNA.
Blood samples taken from the girl showed concentrations of methamphetamine and marijuana.
Ms Dunham opposed bail on the strength of the evidence, which also contained numerous witness statements, data reports from mobile phones, including the defendant’s and CCTV footage.
Mr Cosgrove refused the application for bail.
No date has been set for the Supreme Court trial.
Halaby was represented yesterday by Doug Winning of Winning’s Lawyers.