Drug offence after prison release for corpse interference

IAN Robert Armstrong is no stranger to the courts or jail, having been sent to prison on 13 occasions for drugs and once for interfering with corpses of two bodies.

Now 35, the Rockhampton man has again been sentenced for drug matters - the first offence taking place just two months after being released from prison for a sentence of interfering with the corpses of Robert Martinez and Chantal Barnett.

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Armstrong pleaded guilty on April 21 in Rockhampton District Court to one count of supplying a dangerous drug, five counts of possessing dangerous drugs, three of possessing restricted drugs, four possessing property used in drug offence, one of possessing a restricted item, two drug-driving, one drive without due care and attention, one contravene direction of police, fail to appear, breach of bail, possess property suspected to be proceeds of a drug crime, possess explosives and possess tainted property.

His physical appearance of a beard and tattooed arms would leave most people double-checking he was the same man who was accused alongside Daniel George Hong of murdering Mr Martinez and Ms Barnett between March 2 and March 7, 2013.

Both had the murder charges dropped and were sentenced to two years' prison after pleading guilty to two counts each of interfering with a corpse.

Armstrong's criminal history and sentencing remarks by Justice Graeme Crow were outlined in court on April 21, with Judge Michael Burnett concluding none of the rehabilitation-type sentences handed to Armstrong had deterred him from reoffending.

Judge Burnett also referred to Justice Crow's comments to Armstrong about the addictive nature of methamphetamines, as the alleged murders where linked to the illicit drug.

Armstrong had been sentenced by Justice Duncan McMeekin in June 2014 when he was a "person of interest" in the double homicide case - police had intercepted his calls for the homicide matter and discovered his drug trafficking business.

Crown prosecutor Elise Sergeant said police searched Armstrong's Wandal residence on June 6, 2019, locating 2.9g of marijuana, other restricted drugs, scales, clip-seal bags, a cutting agent and a Facebook message on his phone about him supplying 1.75g of meth for $500.

They also located a telescopic baton and glass pipes.

He was arrested, refused bail due to being on bail at the time of the offence and remanded in custody.

Armstrong was on bail for drug-driving, other drug possession charges and possessing ammunition.

"I'm fairly unsympathetic towards people who drive with drugs in their system," Judge Burnett said.

Armstrong was busted drug-driving on October 22, 2018.

He was found in possession of marijuana and meth after an incident on December 2, 2018 - three months after being released from prison for his involvement in the double murder case.

He was subject to a search warrant on March 20, 2019, when police found a glass pipe and he failed to comply with police direction.

Then in April, Armstrong was intercepted for a licence check and was again found with drugs in his possession.

Another time, Armstrong was arrested outside Rockhampton Hospital - he had marijuana, ice and other drugs in his car, along with a glass pipe, Australian currency and a shotgun round.

On June 4, he evaded police.

Defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand said the father of five had been working since leaving school, starting at the meatworks at 16 years old, and his employment record hindered when he spent time on remand for the double homicide case.

Judge Burnett ordered Armstrong to a head sentence two years and nine months prison term, declared 320 days pre-sentence custody with immediate parole release.

He also disqualified Armstrong from driving for three-and-a-half years.