Top syndicate drug trafficker gets sentence reduced

A CENTRAL Queensland drug trafficker has had one year knocked off his prison sentence on the basis he suffers from serious mental health issues after he was reportedly sexually assaulted in juvenile detention.

The offender, who had customers in Mackay and Brisbane, has not been named in the court documents as he is a victim of sexual assault.

Justice Graeme Crow originally sentenced the offender in Rockhampton Supreme Court earlier this year.

An appeal was heard in Brisbane Supreme Court in late September.

The offender, in his 30s, was found guilty of unlawfully trafficking drugs over five months in 2017 and 2018 and the unlawful supply of a category H weapon, namely a .38 calibre pistol.

He also pleaded guilty to three summary charges, one of which was fraud, and was dealt with for committing an offence during a suspended four-months jail term

The court heard the offender was sexually assaulted while in juvenile detention and this caused him to develop psychiatric conditions which then led to his drug addiction.

It was reported this was one of the reasons for his drug trafficking.

Justice Crow sentenced the man to 10 years and nine months prison, to include 773 days served in pre-sentence custody.

The offender has numerous entries in his criminal history, beginning at a juvenile age.

As an adult, the offences have included dishonesty, property offences, enter premises and commit indictable offences, unlawful use and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, burglary, robbery with violence, receiving tainted property, common assault, stealing and he has served various prison sentences and has also broken bail multiple times.

At the Rockhampton sentence earlier this year, a report from a psychologist detailed the offender's history.

He left home at 13 and started hanging around others who were involved in drug and alcohol use and criminal offending.

The offender told a psychologist, who he was required to talk to before the Rockhampton sentence, that he was raped in juvenile detention and he turned to drugs to self-medicate against the intrusive memories and psychological distress from the incident.

He was drug free from about 2012 to 2016 when he was out of prison and was in a relationship and moved to New South Wales.

His partner suicided in 2016 and the offender relapsed to heroin use after this loss and moved back to Queensland where he became involved in criminal offending again.

The offender's drug trafficking was alerted to police through an operation targeting the distribution of dangerous drugs in Mackay.

Police were analysing another person of interest's telecommunications and found the offender was distributing significant wholesale quantities of methamphetamine.

He then became the target of the operation.

He also supplied methylamphetamine, marijuana and MDMA at a wholesale level to other dealers in multiple ounces with customers in Brisbane and Mackay.

On one occasion a customer paid between $30,000 and $40,000 "upfront" and the rest was conducted on credit for 10 ounces of meth and another $65,000 to $70,000 worth of marijuana.

The court documents further detailed the offender threatened violence over drug debts owed to him.

It was revealed at court the offender had about $100,000 deposited into his account in the offending period.

The offender and another associate had planned to go to Darwin to get meth but police intercepted them at the airport where he was arrested and remanded in custody.

The associate had 282 grams of meth, 210 grams which was pure meth.

The appeal documents state the offender was near the top of the syndicate and did not manufacture or produce the drugs.

It is argued the offender was a "wholesaler dealer of very large amounts, dealing with large sums of money and attempting to arrange large transactions".

At the Rockhampton sentencing, Judge Crow said the fact the offender was a "high level wholesale dealer" required a lengthy prison sentence.

Appealing the prison sentence, it was argued the sentence was "manifestly excessive" given the custodial conditions of COVID-19, psychiatric conditions and guilty pleas.

It was appealed when the offender went before the judge in April, it was the first time he had a diagnosis of the psychiatric conditions he suffered from the sexual assaults he experienced in juvenile detention, which is related to his drug addiction.

The appeal judge ordered the sentence imposed in Rockhampton in April be set aside and granted a new sentence of nine years and 10 months, equating to one year less than the original sentence.