Key part of P defence 'fabrication'

By Edward Gay

Pharmacist Samuel Ross Pulman. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Pharmacist Samuel Ross Pulman. Photo / Herald on Sunday

A pillar of the Pukekohe community is facing a lengthy prison sentence after a High Court judge dismissed a key part of his defence as "a complete fabrication".

Samuel Ross Pulman worked as a pharmacist, and in his spare time organised the youth table tennis evenings and sold vegetables to fundraise for youth projects.

But in May, Pulman pleaded guilty to a representative charge of manufacturing methamphetamine, or P, after being netted in an undercover police operation.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Pulman admitted selling 1290 boxes of cold medicine containing the P precursor drug pseudoephedrine.

Witnesses said they would go to the pharmacy before 8am and pay Pulman up to $100 for a box of the medicine, which retailed for about $30.

At last month's disputed-facts hearing, Pulman said he thought he had been "helping police and the community" by selling cold medicine he knew would be turned into P.

Pulman said his community constable had asked him to continue selling the drugs so police could "spread the net and clear up the area".

"I felt that I was helping police and the community in continuing to sell these items," Pulman said.

But Justice Edwin Wylie has rubbished that idea.

In his determination, released to yesterday, Justice Wylie said community constable Noel Surrey denied asking Pulman to sell the cold medicine at a meeting in 2007.

"If Mr Pulman genuinely thought he was selling the drugs under instructions from the police, it seems to me extraordinary that he did not contact the police and discuss the situation with them. His explanation that he was too busy to do so - over a period of years - is in my opinion implausible," Justice Wylie said.

He also said Pulman "did not strike me as an honest witness".

But Justice Wylie found the Crown was unable to prove Pulman made money selling the medicine, despite making $90,000.

Pulman has previously told the court he would put the cash in a box, to be banked with the business takings.

Justice Wylie said Pulman's employers did not notice any discrepancy between the cash banked and the amount of product sold.

"Nor did they assert that Mr Pulman was taking cash from the cash box," Justice Wylie said.

"While I consider that it is unlikely that Mr Pulman obtained no financial benefit from the transactions, I am mindful of the onus of proof contained in [the Sentencing Act]," he said.

Pulman will be sentenced on August 27.

* 1290 boxes of cold medicine - all sold before the pharmacy opened at 8am.

* $100 a box - price to gangs making P.

* $30 a box - price to a normal buyer.

* $90,000 profit - to pharmacist Samuel Ross Pulman.

- NZ Herald

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