A Waihi mother of eight who admitted selling methamphetamine and cannabis from her home over two years had a drug addiction herself, the High Court at Rotorua heard today.
Leanne Mihitai Rolleston, a 40-year-old beneficiary, used the money she made from supplying others to finance her own habit and help pay living expenses for her large family.
Rolleston, in custody on remand for nearly four months, has now been jailed for two years. She was ordered to attend a drug and alcohol assessment centre for six months after her release.
But she would never have ended up facing time behind bars had she not been so open and frank with police when they searched her house on unrelated matters last year, lawyer Craig Horsley told Justice Raynor Asher when Rolleston appeared for sentence this morning.
The evidence police found - three point bags of methamphetamine and seven bags of residue, 27.6g of cannabis in a bag plus some "tinnies," a glass pipe and $240 in cash - was consistent with her being a user, not a supplier, Mr Horsley said.
There were no weighing scales, no "tick" book, no surveillance equipment and little money.
He said it was unusual to have somebody brought before the High Court "simply because of what she said."
Rolleston had saved police a huge amount of time, trouble and use of resources.
"But for her co-operation she wouldn't be here," said Mr Horsley.
However, Justice Asher turned down a request for home detention, saying it could leave Rolleston open to an unacceptable risk of re-offending.
"I know how much your family will be looking forward to you coming home. I regret to say I do not feel able to (grant home detention) in this case."
Rolleston had admitted supplying her own children with cannabis, he said.
"It would be irresponsible to return you to the place of your offending at this point."
Justice Asher said he had the impression Rolleston's selling operation had been "rather hand-to-mouth." It was run at a very modest commercial level.
When police executed a search warrant late last year, Rolleston "appears to have been shocked," crying and begging them not to "do" her.
She readily confessed to selling methamphetamine in one gram "point" bags, sometimes three or four a week at $150 a bag, for the past two years. She also admitted selling several cannabis tinnies a week at $25 each and sometimes supplying her 19 and 20-year-old sons for their personal use.
Rolleston told police all her clients were known to her. She had never sold to minors or first time drug users and asked for ID as proof of age.
Justice Asher said she was remorseful and appeared to be a loyal and committed mother.
"You are clearly at the turning point of your life. You will either give up drugs or come back here."
Another judge might not treat her as sympathetically, he warned.