Judge spares teen drug dealer time in prison

By Michele Hunter

A man has narrowly avoided jail for cannabis and P-dealing offences after a judge said he held grave concerns for his safety and didn't want to see him become an inmate's "plaything".

Corey Richard Vincent, 18, of Ohauiti was caught offering to sell and supply the illegal drugs after police obtained warrants to search his text message records from June and July this year.

In a text communication between Vincent and an unknown associate on June 10, he offered to supply "doller" bags of methamphetamine which the associate said he intended to supply to his work colleagues.

"Doller bags" is a common street slang for a point one of a gram bag of methamphetamine

On June 18, Vincent also offered to exchange two point bags of methamphetamine for a Valentine speed radar detection device which an associate had offered to sell him for $150.

On July 7, he also had an 11-minute communication with an associate asking that person to sell some cannabis tinnies in Merivale for him. Five days later he received a text from an associate who wanted to buy a "quarter of methamphetamine" for $200.

Vincent agreed to supply the drug and he also entered in an agreement to supply a third person.

The receiving charge relates to Vincent buying a chainsaw which was stolen in a burglary on July 22. Vincent had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of receiving, conspiracy to supply methamphetamine and conspiracy to supply cannabis, and offering to sell and supply the drugs.

Yesterday, he appeared before Judge Thomas Ingram in Tauranga District Court for sentence.

His lawyer Craig Tuck urged the judge to take into account Vincent's age and immaturity, and said he was "easily led and boundless" but with the right guidance and a structured regime of rehabilitative programmes he could be "led in the right direction".

Judge Ingram told Vincent that he had "serious misgivings" that he could comply with a home detention sentence but said he was prepared to give him a chance.

"Anyone who racks up $20,000 in fines at your age is plainly out of control." Judge Ingram said while jail was "well justified", he held grave concerns for Vincent's safety if he did send him there.

"The difficulty is your age and size and I have no doubt you would quickly become someone's plaything in there. And when you get out, someone will come knocking on your door and they will tell you what they want you to do for them and you won't be able to say no."

Judge Ingram sentenced Vincent to 12 months' home detention and 400 hours' community work in lieu of $8000 worth of fines.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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