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Four years jail for drug 'shop'

By Mike Dinsdale

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Monotone legal concept
Monotone legal concept

A Whangarei man found with 62 grams of methamphetamine and nine bags of ecstasy has been jailed for four years and seven months for running what a judge called an illegal drug shop.

Magnuss McCann, appeared for sentencing in Whangarei District Court last month after pleading guilty to 35 charges of offering to supply methamphetamine, and one each one of possessing methamphetamine for supply; possessing LSD for supply; possessing ecstasy for supply; possessing morphine for supply and offering to supply morphine.

Sentencing Judge Phil Gittos said between April and June this year McCann was effectively running an "illegal drug shop" selling methamphetamine - or P as it is also known - morphine, LSD - or acid - and ecstasy.

"Methamphetamine is one of the most evil drugs going around, you should be aware of that because you are an addict," Judge Gittos told McCann.

"Despite that, you were prepared to risk the addiction of others. I have no doubt that these (drugs) can cause a great deal of misery. You have contributed by dealing in what can only be described as a filthy drug."

The judge said McCann was caught on June 15 when somebody saw him selling methamphetamine in the Grand Hotel, in Whangarei, and called police. McCann, his car and home were searched and a total of 62 grams of P, nine bags of ecstasy, eight LSD tabs, 30mg of morphine and more than $3000 in cash were found.

Defence lawyer Kelly Ellis accepted that jail was inevitable for McCann, but asked the judge to try something a bit different and instead focus on rehabilitation, with McCann already making some good progress in overcoming his addiction after enrolling in a drug treatment programme since his arrest.

Ms Ellis said the "war on drugs" had failed as there were still plenty of people getting into drugs and the focus should be on rehabilitation, rather than solely on punishment.

But Crown Prosecutor Anne Patterson said the ripple effects and ongoing human misery from such drug dealing were awful and a message needed to be sent that it would not be tolerated.

Judge Gittos said a starting point for sentencing was five-and-a-half years' jail, but he reduced that by 20 per cent for McCann's guilty plea and other mitigating circumstances, particularly his efforts to rehabilitate himself. He also ordered the $3060 found on McCann be forfeited to the Crown.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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