A former Home and Away actor arrested for involvement in an alleged cocaine syndicate wants bail so that he can attend a rehabilitation facility.
Putu Winchester-Stanton, 44, who found fame as loveable class clown Dennis Klinsmann in the TV drama series Heartbreak High during the late 1990s, is in a maximum-security jail after he and a number of other men were arrested in April and charged with a range of drug crimes.
Mr Winchester-Stanton’s defence lawyer John Weller said in Byron Bay Court on Monday that he would be applying for bail for the star once access to the Victory House rehabilitation facility at Tweed Heads on the far north coast of NSW could be organised.
Mr Weller said there had been a delay in Mr Winchester-Stanton’s request to attend the facility, according to the Courier Mail.
As a result, the prosecution asked for the case to be adjourned to Lismore Local Court on September 15.
Putu Winchester-Stanton, 44, is likely to apply for bail to be released from the maximum-security prison he’s currently in to attend a rehabilitation facility on the far north coast of NSW
Victory House offers a recovery program which its says ‘will help you beat/overcome drug and alcohol addiction and other life controlling behaviours’.
‘Our 12-month live-in rehabilitation program is restoring families and helping men break addiction forever!’
Mr Winchester-Stanton faces charges including knowingly directing a criminal group, a number of cocaine supply charges and drug possession.
Apart from his breakthrough role in Heartbreak High, Winchester-Stanton also had small acting stints on Home and Away – appearing as a surfer named Pogo – and in Water Rats.
But years later he said he fell off the rails after the death of both his parents and developed an addiction with cocaine – a chapter of his life he discussed with the Herald Sun over his prison phone in early July.
‘My addiction started as a few knock-off drinks and having a line, which turned into having a big night, which turned into having a big weekend, which turned into doing it every night of my life,’ he said.
Winchester-Stanton said time moved agonisingly slow in prison and he was often woken up each day to the sound of his cellmate relieving himself.
He is checked off by guards as part of the 8.15 morning roll call followed by a lunch at 12.15 inside the mundane four walls of his own cell.
Dinner is at an unsettling 5pm and inmates are then locked away in their cells for the remainder of the night.
Weights and gym equipment aren’t on offer so inmates get creative by using shopping bags full of water or lifting each other as a form of strength training.
Winchester-Stanton was one of seven men arrested after police raided homes across the NSW far north coast on April 22.
Police carried out four search warrants at homes in Byron Bay, Bangalow and Mullumbimby and a Byron Bay business.
Winchester-Stanton, from Mullumbimby, near Byron Bay on New South Wales’ far north coast gained fame from his time playing loveable class clown Dennis Klinsmann in the TV drama series Heartbreak High during the late 1990s
The father speaks to his girlfriend (pictured together) everyday while behind bars as he faces drug charges
Officers allegedly seized 340 grams of cocaine, $25,000 in cash and proceeds of crime.
He said he didn’t realise how big his drug addiction was until he was locked in his cell, admitting he’s now lost the ‘coke bloat’.
The 44-year-old said thanks to his role on Heartbreak High at the age of just 18 he was quickly thrusted into the world of partying and fame and soon enough became a ‘party animal’.
‘When you are young and impressionable and taken by the hand into the world of television and being a pseudo-celebrity, cocaine comes very much hand-in-hand with that,’ he said.
Winchester-Stanton was born in Bali, raised in Bondi and moved to Byron after his big break starring in Heartbreak High came to an end in 1999.
His mother was an actress but then passed away from a brain tumour.
His father had become violent after a motorcycle crash which pushed Winchester-Stanton and his mother to flee Bali and move to Sydney.
Winchester-Stanton was charged with ten offences including supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug
Winchester-Stanton was born in the back of a three-wheel bemo taxi in Bali on New Year’s Eve, 1976. His first name, pronounced ‘poo-too’, means first born
At his mother’s wake, Winchester-Stanton’s father made a surprise appearance.
He’d developed an alcohol problem and starting acting aggressively towards his son, prompting Winchester-Stanton to defend himself by hurling a punch at his father’s face.
His father fell back and smacked his head on the pavement, leaving him in an induced coma he would never wake up from.
Winchester-Stanton went through a nine-month legal saga before he was cleared of any wrongdoing in his father’s death – a nightmare which kickstarted his drug habit.
‘I was drinking every day, doing coke every day. I drank until I simply couldn’t anymore,’ he said.
Inside the prison he said he is able to speak to his 18-year-old son and chats to his girlfriend every day.
The 44-year-old is seen with his partner. He admitted he didn’t realise the extent of his cocaine addiction until he was sent to prison
Police carried out raids across four properties in northern NSW in April
But it’s worlds away from a life he once lived.
Winchester-Stanton was born in the back of a three-wheel bemo taxi in Bali on New Year’s Eve, 1976. His first name, pronounced ‘poo-too’, means first born.
His big entertainment break came when he accompanied his actor mother to an audition for Heartbreak High and was offered a part.
In 2010, Winchester-Stanton and a group of mates were thrown into a squalid Papua New Guinean prison after they were arrested on Bougainville on drug charges in March 2000.
PNG police armed with assault rifles had stormed a yacht the group was sailing on during a surf trip after receiving a tip-off that half a kilogram of cannabis was on board.
Dubbed the Perenti Five after the yacht, the men spent a weekend inside a cramped Buka jail cell alongside murderers and rapists before being granted bail.
All five men pleaded not guilty to drug charges and were eventually found not guilty, returning home to Australia after more than a month of uncertainty.