A troubled multi-millionaire and relative of Ita Buttrose has been freed from the Northern Territory jail he feared he’d die in following an alleged drug-fuelled crime spree.
Andrew Spira, 24, was successful in his second bid for bail in Darwin Local Court this week, over allegations he used fake credit card details to travel from Sydney to Darwin and a false passport to try to travel overseas.
Chief Judge Elizabeth Morris’ decision followed Spira’s desperate plea before he was first refused bail on May 24.
Then, he told the court he’d be “at high risk of death” if he was kept in the NT prison system on remand, due to his need for medical assistance.
He has been in a Darwin jail since his court win today — but is yet to enter pleas on separate fraud allegations in both the NT and NSW.
His instructing solicitor Samir Karnib told news.com.au the last few months had been “very difficult on him in every aspect of his life”.
“He has no doubt learnt a valuable lesson from his experience in custody for the past couple of months. He is determined and focused on rebuilding himself and he has now been given the opportunity to do so adequately”.
Spira built a Sydney property empire worth more than $15m with his ex-fiance Julia Maguire and founded successful business loan company Pineapple Funding.
He is the son of Ita’s niece, former Sydney socialite Lizzie Buttrose.
The court heard his legal troubles began when he split with Maguire and relapsed into drug use.
Police allege that on May 6, he used a fraudulent United Kingdom passport and false name to travel overseas from Sydney Airport for a business deal after becoming “deluded” into thinking an airline was “out to get him”.
Court records seen by news.com.au show Spira was granted bail to attend a mental health clinic after he was charged with making a false foreign travel document and using false identity information to obtain an air ticket.
He was ordered to surrender his passport to police and stay away from international airports, with a $200,000 surety offered up for his freedom.
But just a few weeks later, Spira was allegedly caught again trying to leave the country with fraudulent documents, this time being false credit card details.
Police allege Spira flew to Darwin with a staff member by private jet on May 20 and made illegal plans to leave the country.
During a search warrant at a hotel room on May 22, police seized an unlicensed firearm, a trafficable quantity of steroids and a string of electronic devices.
Under the successful bail application brought by his barrister Nicholas Goodfellow today, Spira must not leave a certain Darwin premises between 8pm and 7am, stay away from international departure points and undergo regular drug and alcohol testing.
He must also be supervised by Community Corrections and wear an electronic monitoring device.
If he breaks these conditions, he must forfeit $10,000.
He will next face Darwin Local Court on the NT allegations on September 3 and is due to face Waverley Local Court on the NSW charges on September 1, when Mr Karnib will apply for the matters to be dealt with under the mental health act.