Dunedin caregiver avoids jail term after importing drugs

The man was granted permanent name suppression in the Dunedin District Court this morning. Photo / File
The man was granted permanent name suppression in the Dunedin District Court this morning. Photo / File

A Dunedin caregiver who imported methamphetamine and LSD for his birthday party has avoided a jail term.

The man in his 30s appeared in the Dunedin District Court this morning and was granted permanent name suppression by Judge Kevin Phillips, who told him it was "really not for your benefit whatsoever".

The judge said the severely disabled person that the defendant cared for would be disadvantaged by him being named and losing his job, and that would be unfair.

The man's employer originally dismissed him because they thought he had lost name suppression, but the court heard today from defence counsel Anne Stevens that her client would be reinstated if his name was kept under wraps permanently.

The man works 30 hours a week as a one-on-one caregiver, which Stevens said was "specialised work".

"It's important for the community at large that someone will do that work," she said.

But Judge Phillips was concerned by an interview the man had with probation during which he said he had been a regular cannabis user since the age of 17 and would continue to use the drug daily.

"It would be quite wrong to be a caregiver as a cannabis-addicted user," the judge said.

"I can't put him on home detention if he's going to continue to use cannabis."

However, Stevens said her client was committed to kicking the habit and had started a programme to address his long-term drug issues.

In June, the defendant changed his computer's IP address and set up a proxy address to access the dark web.

"It was not just a couple of clicks and $120, but a process you went through to obtain bit dollars, or whatever they're called, to pay for drugs," Judge Phillips said.

The man ordered 1.5g of methamphetamine and five tabs of LSD, but was sent an extra gram of the former.

It was intercepted at the border and, though the defendant had used a false name, it was addressed to the Dunedin flat at which he was living.

Police searched the house and found 25g of cannabis, the court heard.

The importer said he used the internet because he did not want to get involved in the local hard-drug scene.

He was assessed by probation as at low risk of reoffending.

But Judge Phillips said the behaviour had to be strongly denounced.

"This type of offending is alarming to the community that people can go onto the internet and order these type of hard drugs and bring them into the country."

The man was sentenced to seven months' home detention and 250 hours of community work.

Judge Phillips also imposed drug testing every 40 days. 

Any THC detected would see him jailed, he said, but the court heard the testing could only take place with the defendant's consent.

- Otago Daily Times

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