Former NSW crime fighter Mark Standen has told his drugs trial of the close relationship he had with an informant whom he thought was giving up his life of crime.
Standen said he had expected James Kinch to "disengage from crime" for reasons including his acknowledgment that most of his drug associates were "lunatics".
The 54-year-old former NSW Crime Commission investigator is the first defence witness at his NSW Supreme Court trial, which began 12 weeks ago.
He denies conspiring with Kinch, a drug dealer turned informant, and foodstuffs businessman Bakhos "Bill" Jalalat between early 2006 and June 2008 to import pseudoephedrine, which is used to make the drugs "speed" and "ice".
He also denies taking part in the supply of 300 kilograms of the substance and conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Standen told the jury on Thursday that he began his law enforcement career in 1975, had five brothers and four children.
He became the "handler" of Kinch, a "serious criminal", who turned informant after his 2003 Sydney arrest for drugs and proceeds of crime offences.
Standen said Kinch provided "a great deal of information", including the location of 72kg of ecstasy in a storage shed.
Other information related to a major Dutch drug syndicate, which was passed on to the authorities in Holland.
His barrister, Mark Ierace SC, asked how he rated Kinch from the time of his arrest until he left Australia in February 2004.
"I would rate him very highly, if out of 10, it was 10," Standen said.
He maintained contact and received information from Kinch after he left the country following the dropping of his charges and his forfeiture of more than $900,000 to the commission.
"Generally if you maintain an amiable relationship with people, they are more likely to contact you if and when they learn something of interest," he said.
"On one view, he was placing his life in the hands of authorities, through me."
Based on many conversations with Kinch, Standen said he expected him to leave his life of crime and make an honest living.
He said Kinch provided a lot of significant information to him and was unhappy with his criminal associates, feeling he had "been used and abused" by them.
Standen said he observed that most of Kinch's associates were "lunatics", which Kinch acknowledged, saying "he got lost in that environment and that world".
By the end of 2005, their relationship was "good, friendly, on a personal level - trusting".
The informant/handler relationship was not in existence "in a formal sense", but "I had expectations that I would hear from him if he heard of things of interest to me in Australia".
He said Kinch kept him updated on his efforts to make an honest living, which included an investment company in Dubai.
Standen said while some criminals were incorrigible, others - if they had other options and "are made to stop and think about it" - can change.
"There's no reason to think they cannot disengage from crime," he added.
The trial is continuing before Justice Bruce James.