A Napier woman who dealt in "wholesale" quantities of methamphetamine has avoided a prison sentence after being given credit for her commitment to overcoming her addiction.
Chloe Violet Jayne Stokes, a first-time offender, was sentenced to 12 months' home detention by Judge Geoff Rea in the Napier District Court on Friday. She had received a sentencing indication of nine and a half years in jail when she appeared in court in May 2020.
Stokes was convicted of six counts of possessing methamphetamine for supply, two of conspiring to deal in methamphetamine, seven of supplying methamphetamine and one offence of possessing methamphetamine utensils.
According to the Crown summary, police responding to a family violence call-out in Napier in May 2019 found Stokes in possession of a rainbow-coloured pencil case containing 40 snap-lock bags with methamphetamine in them.
The total weight of the bagged meth was 16.33 grams.
A cellphone belonging to Stokes was found to contain communications with someone named "Golly", who was apparently based in Auckland.
Data from the phone showed that Stokes was obtaining large amounts of meth from Golly to supply other people in the Hawke's Bay area.
The total amount of methamphetamine involved was around 537g, with an estimated value of $110,000 to $120,000.
Defence counsel Matthew Phelps said the offending had happened at a time when Stokes was in a psychologically troubled state, battling addiction and engaged in "some very self-destructive conduct".
She had spent 83 days in custody on remand since then and more than 18 months on electronically monitored bail at Auckland's Odyssey House rehabilitation centre.
Phelps said Stokes, who had a background of addiction and trauma, had completed a substantial amount of rehabilitation and now had a part-time job.
He argued for a sentence of home detention.
However, Crown Prosecutor Cameron Stuart said the Crown opposed a home detention sentence because of the seriousness of Stokes' offending.
He said Stokes had been moving "wholesale" quantities of meth between Auckland and Hawke's Bay, and reports had assessed her of having a moderate likelihood of reoffending.
Judge Rea said Stokes had had a difficult and unstable upbringing, with exposure to drugs and anti-social behaviour at a young age. She had a child with a "controlling" man who introduced her to methamphetamine.
Her case was overlaid with her addiction and the "worst possible trauma" when she suffered a violent assault in March 2020.
Judge Rea said Stokes had engaged in very serious meth dealing, bringing drugs into the community "well beyond your own addiction".
However, the judge told Stokes that "you have done everything you possibly could to improve things" and had shown a "resolute commitment" to rehabilitation.
"I've never come across anything quite like this in my experience," Judge Rea said of Stokes' rehabilitation efforts.
Stokes' time on electronically monitored bail was also one of the longest he had seen.
Using the sentencing indication of nine and a half years in prison, Judge Rea said he would deduct 20 per cent for Stokes' guilty pleas, and a further 55 per cent for her rehabilitation efforts.
The time she had spent in custody and on electronically monitored bail could also be taken into account to reduce her possible jail sentence to the threshold where home detention became an option.
He sentenced Stokes to 12 months of home detention on each charge, to be served concurrently, with post-detention conditions to continue with rehabilitative treatment.
Stokes wiped away a tear as the sentence was announced.
The $5210 found with the drugs was forfeited to the Crown.