Judge orders supervision for drug-selling beneficiary

By Simon Hendery -
ILLEGAL TRADE: Susan Sullivan outside Hastings District Court where she pleaded guilty to selling synthetic cannabis without a licence. PHOTO / FILE
ILLEGAL TRADE: Susan Sullivan outside Hastings District Court where she pleaded guilty to selling synthetic cannabis without a licence. PHOTO / FILE

A Hastings woman who illegally sold psychoactive substances from her home has been sentenced to a term of supervision.

Susan Margaret Sullivan, a 49-year-old beneficiary, yesterday pleaded guilty in Hastings District Court to selling the "legal high" drugs without a licence.

Police arrested her on March 12, just days after the two licensed legal high retailers in the city were shut down by the Ministry of Health as it began investigating claims they were breaching local bylaws.

According to a summary of facts read to the court yesterday, police observed a number of people coming and going from Sullivan's home after receiving information she was illegally trading the drugs.

Police spoke to one person leaving her property who said they had paid $25 for a packet of the product.

When they later searched Sullivan's car they found 21 packets of psychoactive substances and about 200 plastic bags.

Her lawyer, William Hawkins, told the court Sullivan had only been selling the drugs because she felt visitors to her home were "bludging" the product and taking advantage of her.

In sentencing Sullivan to nine months' supervision, Judge Bridget Mackintosh said she accepted Sullivan had "a number of personal issues and personal difficulties" and was known to the mental health services.

Her sentence included a requirement to attend drug and alcohol counselling and any other recommended programmes.

The maximum penalty for the offence is three months' jail and a $40,000 fine.

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