A former methamphetamine addict and dealer has blamed the trauma of the Pike River Mine disaster for his descent into the drug culture.
Joshua Murray Jackson, 25, appeared for sentence in Greymouth District Court yesterday on a charge of possessing methamphetamine.
While executing a search warrant on Jackson's home, police found that he was carrying $1900 cash and a small bag containing 0.25g of P in one of his pockets. Jackson also had $550 in his wallet.
He said the money was for the purchase of a car.
Defence Lawyer George Linder said Jackson had worked for two years at Pike River, was a personal friend of several of the victims of the disaster, and strenuously objected to an opinion from the police that he was still involved in the drug world.
Judge John Stretell said he had initially considered a prison sentence but thought that a community work sentence would be appropriate because, if the police opinion of Jackson was correct, he would reoffend and go back to jail anyway.
Jackson was sentenced to 200 hours' community work and fined $750.
"Police have the view that you are still involved in the drug sub-culture and if that's so and you appear again you will go to jail," Judge Stretell told Jackson.