Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an NZME. News Service reporter

Pike River miner jailed for drug dealing

Joshua Murray Jackson turned to drugs after 29 of his mates were killed in the Pike River mining tragedy. Photo / File
Joshua Murray Jackson turned to drugs after 29 of his mates were killed in the Pike River mining tragedy. Photo / File

A Pike River coal miner who turned to drugs after 29 of his mates were killed in the 2010 mining tragedy has been jailed for four-and-a-half years for drug dealing.

Joshua Murray Jackson, 26, had already lost his grandfather, who had been a father figure to him, before the explosion tore through the West Coast mine on November 19, 2010.

He was off work and a court heard today that he had struggled to come to terms with the loss of his friends.

Christchurch District Court was told that Jackson, from Greymouth, became heavily addicted to class A, B, and C drugs - the "whole cocktail", Judge Philip Moran pointed out.

"You worked in that mine, and the 29 men killed were friends of yours," the judge said.

"You couldn't get your head around the fact that you weren't at the coalface that day, and why should you survive when they all died. You took refuge in drug use and that is what leads you here today."

Jackson had pleaded guilty to supplying, or offering to supply, Class A LSD and Class B ecstasy.

Between September 18 last year and January 24, text messages showed he had supplied or offered to supply LSD on at least 17 occasions.

Other texts showed him dealing ecstasy, or MDMA, on a further 20 occasions, as well as selling cannabis on "a couple of occasions".

When police raised his home on January 24, they found a pipe for smoking ecstasy, a pill press capable of making one pill at a time, a sawn-off .22 rifle, and four sticks of Powergel explosives.

Defence counsel Kerry Cook said Jackson was now "motivated to change" and since being in custody had been a "model prisoner".

Judge Moran accepted Jackson had made "sterling efforts" to beat his addiction since he's been in custody.

He acknowledged several family members in court today, telling them: "Thanks for coming. This is a sad day but it is an important one."

The court had received "loving letters of support", which Jackson should be proud of Judge Moran said.

"It tells me that you're better than this - you're not a drug dealer."

But he could not avoid the fact that his drug dealing had landed him a four-and-a-half year jail term.

"You have to pay the price that comes with drug dealing."

His family called out that they loved him as Jackson was led into the cells.

- APNZ

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