A man with an enormous, and enormously expensive, addiction to methamphetamine, will continue his rehabilitation behind bars after being sentenced on a wide variety of charges yesterday.
Dunedin District Court was told drug dealer Eli Christie was a "middleman" in the illegal drugs trade, but the thousands of dollars which passed through his hands went up in smoke because of a 3g-a-day drug habit of his own.
Prosecutor Richard Smith said the amount of the drug Christie was using was one of the highest he had ever heard of, and would have cost him about $3000 a day.
Christie, who had an extensive list of previous convictions which included manufacture of methamphetamine for supply, had earlier plead guilty to charges of supplying cocaine, supplying methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a firearm, and possession of stolen goods.
The 49-year-old's latest drug dealing business was discovered by police during 2018, and the organised crime unit conducted a three-month operation which found he was supplying drugs in Canterbury, Dunedin and Otago.
In a three-month period, Christie supplied one contact with 31g of methamphetamine worth about $21,000 on the street.
Sometime in that period, Christie gave that contact his 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun. Neither he nor the contact had a firearms licence.
Soon after, that contact got in touch with Christie and asked him to help her sell an ounce of cocaine she had been offered.
The two agreed a swap deal, in which the contact swapped half the cocaine for half an ounce of methamphetamine; Christie later told police he made nothing from the deal.
Christie also conducted numerous drug deals with another contact, and said he would have supplied 15 ounces of methamphetamine, worth possibly as much as $250,000, in that time.
Christie was also before the court for his part in the theft of a camper van in Christchurch.
Christie arranged to buy the $60,000 Mercedes Benz mobile home but, not having cash available, swapped his $2000 Ford Falcon for it.
Christie told police he knew the vehicle was stolen when he bought it, but he needed somewhere to live because of a change in personal circumstances,
For Christie, Brian Kilkelly said his client had one of the most appalling personal histories he had heard, both as a probation officer and a lawyer.
While not excusing Christie's behaviour, Christie's childhood of abandonment, violence and addiction was a factor in how his life had been led, Kilkelly said.
However, during his time in custody awaiting sentence, Christie had new insight into his offending and had resolved to put his old way of life behind him.
Christie wanted to make the two-year commitment to enrolling in the Odyssey House rehabilitation programme, and Kilkelly asked for a sentence length which would make that possible sooner rather than later.
Judge Michael Turner said there were contradictions between a culture report on Christie, and alcohol and drug reports.
For all that, Christie did not seem to have benefited financially and his addiction issues were accepted, his previous convictions demonstrated a consistent pattern of behaviour — which included using drugs just four hours after being released from a prison term for drug use.
Judge Turner sentenced Christie to a combined 6 years and 3 months' imprisonment on all charges, a minimum period of 3 years 1 month to be served.