A Mount Maunganui man found guilty of dealing ecstasy has narrowly avoided jail with a sentence of 12 months' home detention and 300 hours' community work.
Julian Casey, 22, was found guilty by a jury in July of nine counts of offering to supply the Class B controlled drug MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, and two counts of conspiring with another person to supply the drug.
He was sentenced in Tauranga District Court today by Judge Thomas Ingram and also pleaded guilty to damaging a chair in the court cells hearing the verdict.
Casey was one of four people arrested on November 30 last year when police searched four homes in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui during which they netted $4000 worth of pills and $2000 cash.
Police analysed more than 200 text messages sent and received from Casey's mobile phone during October 2010.
The text messages included references to offers to supply blue hats, mercs, blue mitsis and e's - all street names for ecstasy - and showed he had been engaged in the business of offering to sell ecstasy and making arrangements to supply the drug.
Crown prosecutor Hayley Sheridan told Judge Ingram that a sentence of 2 to 2-1/2 years' prison was appropriate but the Crown accepted Casey had a supportive family and a positive pre-sentence report and that it was his first drug offending.
She said the Crown was not opposed to home detention.
Mr Nabney said home detention coupled with community work was the appropriate outcome for his client but he accepted it should be slightly longer than one of his client's co-offenders who received six months home detention for a lesser number of transactions.
"He has clearly got the message that this is not something the courts take lightly and he has no intention of reoffending in this way again," Mr Nabney said
Mr Nabney said Casey was remorseful and until this offending he has been a "useful member of the community".
Judge Ingram said Casey had been a "very foolish, young man" who had engaged in "premeditated, commercial, greedy behaviour".
"If you were being sentenced in the United States of America for these charges, you would not be seeing the light of day and would be locked up for the rest of your days."
Judge Ingram said sending him to prison would place him in the clutches of imprisoned gang members in prison who were likely to assist him to continue drug dealing.
"I have no wish to be recruiter for drug dealing gangs in prison and home detention is far better option despite it being a difficult sentence for young men to serve."