A West Coast drug dealer was told in the Greymouth District Court yesterday that he was too old to be asking the court for sympathy for his upbringing as he was jailed for supplying methamphetamine 'P'.
Matthew John Miller, 32, was sentenced to two and a half years' jail on charges of possessing P for supply in February, and further charges of possessing P and unlawfully possessing 42 ritalin tablets, in May.
In February, during a search warrant, police found eight small bags of P, digital scales with P residue on them and $2880 in cash. A check of Miller's cellphone records revealed numerous texts related to drug sales, and his rented house was equipped with four surveillance cameras including one at each entrance and one on the chimney.
Miller was still awaiting sentence on those charges when, in May, police conducted a bail check and found him smoking from a glass bong with a small bag of white powder beside him.
Surprised, Miller responded, "oh f***", snatched a bag of P off the table and swallowed it. He was rushed by police to hospital where the bag, containing about 2g of P, with a street value of $2000, was flushed from him.
Miller later fled from the hospital and spent several days on the run before police again took him into custody. Police also found at his house the ritalin tablets with a street value of $2000.
A probation report showed that Miller had 50 prior convictions and had been sentenced to prison on six previous occasions.
Lawyer Doug Taffs asked Judge Raoul Neave to step back from a jail term, saying that Miller came from a background of deprivation, with a drug addict father and an alcoholic mother.
"It was a dysfunctional family, he was in foster homes more often than not and it's not surprising that he drifted into offending," Mr Taffs said.
"However, he is now committed to kicking a habit that he picked up when he was only 10 years old. We have a person here who is really at a turning point, and the court can have some faith in his ability to comply with a community-based sentence."
Judge Neave accepted that Miller had a poor start to life. "But, at the age of 32 you have pretty much used up all the court's sympathy in that regard," he said.
Setting a starting point at three and a half years, but discounting a full year, the judge said imprisonment was inevitable.
"It's very clear that you have a significant and long-standing drug problem, but it is equally clear that you have been supplementing your habit by supplying others. Those who involve themselves in drug dealing must be aware that they face significant terms of imprisonment."
- The Greymouth Star