From major meth boss to cafe owner
A MILES property owner who ran one of Queensland's biggest amphetamines syndicates is fighting the state's parole board to run a cafe with his dad.
Todd Sean Filippa, a member of the Bellino clan that featured in the 1987 Fitzgerald Inquiry, was released on parole in March with 29 strict conditions, including several relating to employment.
In 2008, Filippa had been ordered to serve 80% of a 13.5-year jail sentence for running a multi-million dollar trafficking ring. He had already served almost three years on remand.
His offences included cooking a batch of methylamphetamines worth about $400,000 at his Miles property that he was planning to sell it on the blackmarket through outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Lawyer Adam Guest filed papers to the Brisbane Supreme Court on July 5 seeking a judicial review of the Queensland Parole Board's refusal to allow Filippa to enter the restaurant industry with his dad.
He is arguing the board's decision was an error of law and members improperly weighed any positive or rehabilitative effects employment might have on Filippa against any negative matters.
Filippa, a former Fortitude Valley nightclub owner, must abide by conditions such as abstaining from alcohol and drugs, not entering licensed hotels or clubs, and having no involvement in operating a nightclub without permission from the board.
The board also requires the 52 year old must secure employment if a corrective services officer directs him to and that he must make himself available for employment or training if instructed to.
But, in a letter to the parole office in April, Mr Guest said a third restriction, requiring board approval for employment, was affecting Filippa's ability to obtain paid work.
"Accordingly, Mr Filippa with his father are looking to purchase a cafe," he wrote.
"This would not seem to be in breach of any of the conditions attached to his parole order.
"We look forward to your positive responses so that he may investigate opportunities further."
But the Queensland Parole Board disagreed.
QPB president Peter McInnes, in a document lodged with the court, said the board was considering its duty to ensure the prisoner's "good conduct" and to stop Filippa committing an offence when it denied his request to engage in the restaurant industry.
He said the board reasonably believed Filippa posed an unacceptable risk of committing an offence and noted the short parole period in making decision.
No date has been set for hearing yet. - ARM NEWSDESK