Joseph Parker's lawyer Michael Heron speaks out on meth trafficking case

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Joseph Parker is denying any involvement in an international meth trafficking ring, and says he has not had a chance to defend himself against the unfounded allegations.

Parker was named in evidence in the 2019 trial of three drug dealers who were found guilty and later sentenced to between eight and a half and 18 years behind bars.

He fought to keep his identity secret but can now be named after the Supreme Court ruled the principles of open justice outweigh any hardship he may face.

The boxer was never charged and a warrant to search his house was never executed.

"He wasn't on trial, he denies these allegations on oath," Parker's lawyer Michael Heron QC told Checkpoint.

"Each court found that this would be unduly harsh to publish his name. And really it was a matter of discretion. Ultimately they decided open justice prevailed, but it was pretty obvious all the way through that publication of these rather unfair circumstances was going to be, and was going to cause undue hardship and that's what the court said."

Heron said Parker's relationship with the three convicted men is "irrelevant" as it is not an offence to know or be connected with anyone.

"The key thing is, is there sufficient evidence to charge someone? The police have investigated, decided there isn't. He's gone further and submitted affidavits denying this on oath."

The police had a search warrant for Parker's residence. Courts only issue search warrants in cases where a judge is convinced there are reasonable grounds to suspect an offence.

But Heron said a person only needs to answer questions if they have been charged with an offence, and there are many reasons why search warrants are not executed.

In the case, there was evidence of social media messages from Parker's account that allegedly involved the buying and selling of drugs. Heron said none of that evidence has been tested by Parker in court.

"He's not had formal disclosure and the opportunity to cross-examine the person who attributed these or to put forward his side at all in a trial. That's just the system, I'm not criticising it, but he wasn't on trial, this evidence has never been put forward against him in a process that he can properly challenge it."

In a statement to Checkpoint, Detective Inspector Scott Beard said: "While police did find evidence that this sportsperson knew all of the men who were accused and subsequently convicted, police applied the Solicitor General's prosecution guidelines and found that there was insufficient evidence to commence a prosecution.

"Police obtained a search warrant to obtain the sportspersons cell phone. However, at the time the search was to take place, he was not at his address and had travelled overseas.

"Police made two more attempts to visit his address and also went to a family member's address to try to locate him. The sportsperson engaged legal representation and advised police that no statement would be made.

"The main offenders involved in the importation and distribution of methamphetamine have been held to account for the serious offending they have committed. The status and profile of this individual did not influence the outcome of the investigation."