A Napier meth dealer appearing in court in a wheelchair - and said to have limited life expectancy because of illness - was yesterday sentenced to four years and six months in jail.

Laki Leatitala Sulusi, 43, was appearing in Napier District Court where Judge Tony Adeane lowered the sentence from a possible eight years by deducting 25 per cent for Sulusi's early pleas to four charges of possessing methamphetamine for supply and a further 18 months because of ill health, saying that but for a liver transplant the outlook was "not good at all".

Judge Adeane accepted the submission from defence counsel Russell Fairbrother QC, who, describing Sulusi as a courier, said Sulusi had a "number" of children, and "chose a stupid way of providing for them".

The judge said Sulusi was a drug distributor, but did not have the "usual explanation" that it was to support a habit, instead saying it was to support the family.


Sulusi was arrested in July after an investigation dating back more than 19 months, during which police said he made four trips to buy meth, making purchases totalling 340 grams, worth up to $1000 a gram on the drugs market.

On July 28 police searched several homes Sulusi was known to visit and found 225g of methamphetamine concealed in the lining of a handbag in his car at an address he was visiting.

After pleading guilty in August - regarded as particularly early on charges that carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment - an application for bail was granted because of his health issues and dialysis at least three times a week.