An Auckland lawyer today convicted of possession of methamphetamine says his drug habit devastated his life.
Calvin Dean Wootton, 46, appeared for sentence before Judge Mark Perkins in Auckland District Court this afternoon.
"You've appeared so often before me in the courts so I'm devastated that you are here facing these charges, I really am," Judge Perkins said.
He convicted and fined him $500 for charges of possession and methamphetamine and possession of a pipe.
He also ordered him to pay court costs of $132.
Judge Perkins did not feel he needed to sentence Wootton more harshly due to his standing as a lawyer.
"I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be dealt with in the same way as anyone else appearing before this court," he said.
"Lawyers can become addicted to things like everyone else - they're human beings."
Defence lawyer Steve Cullen said Wootton's marriage and life had "disintegrated" as a result of offending, but he had since cleaned up his act.
Wootton was initially also charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply and possession of cannabis, but these charges were withdrawn.
According to the police summary of facts, he was found with a "small amount" of methamphetamine in a plastic snap-lock bag.
The criminal barrister has worked as a lawyer for more than 10 years and in 2008 teamed up with disgraced lawyer Chris Comeskey on the Nai Yin Xue murder case.
Xue was later found guilty of murdering his wife and dumping her body in the boot of a car before fleeing the country with his three year-old daughter and abandoning her in Melbourne.
Outside court, Wootton told APNZ he had no immediate plans to return to practicing law.
"I don't feel worthy - certainly in the short term - to practice law again. I'll review that some time in the future but right now I'm just looking for a change and to do other things."
He said he became involved with methamphetamine after living with a flatmate from "the other side of the tracks".
"I saw another part of society which, previous to this flatmate, I'd never seen before."
He said he'd got the habit under control.
"I'm in a good relationship now and she's very supportive and she's anti-drugs in every way.
"As a Maori in the community, as a leader, I'm ashamed of the ramifications this could have.
"It's not good. I'm devastated really. It's been a hell of a ride."