An Australian radio presenter has escaped being sent to jail despite being convicted of selling drugs after a police raid uncovered a stash of illegal substances inside his Sydney CBD hotel room.
Ashley Norman Hall, 50, on Friday sat in silence in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court as he was sentenced for a string of drug offences following his December 2019 arrest.
The ABC radio journalist and presenter was tight-lipped as he left court alongside his lawyer after he was sentenced to a 12-month community corrections order.
According to an agreed statement of facts, police found a cache of ice, MDMA, cocaine, cannabis, LSD and the party drug gamma-Butyrolactone, along with drug paraphernalia, when they searched his 24th floor room at the Meriton Suites on Pitt Street.
Magistrate Michael Crompton elected not to impose a fulltime custodial sentence, despite Hall pleading guilty to two counts of supplying a prohibited drug and four counts of drug possession.
Despite Hall's conviction for serious drug offences, the ABC has refused to answer questions on whether he has been stood down.
After receiving a tip-off about someone selling drugs out of the room, police obtained a warrant before hotel management provided a key to room 2404, allowing officers to search it.
Hall signed for the room under his name, along with another man, and paid just under A$1000 for a five-night stay.
When police entered the room on the afternoon of December 12 two years ago, they found Hall in the lounge room with a plastic bag containing 0.37 grams of cocaine in his pocket.
He soon complained that he felt unwell and had to be taken to hospital under police guard.
When police sniffer dogs searched the room, they uncovered a cache of drugs consisting of 19.61g of cannabis, 47.17g of methamphetamine, 1.29g of MDMA, six tabs of LSD and 394ml of gamma-Butyrolactone.
Hall told officers he had no fixed address at the time.
Another man was found in the lounge room, however he was allowed to leave.
After Hall was discharged from hospital later that evening, he was taken to Day Street Police Station where he was arrested and charged.
His lawyer, Rylie Hahn, told the court that he was not selling drugs for profit, rather he was doing it to feed his own addiction.
She said that he had been in a "toxic relationship" during which he was introduced to ice.
"It was the catalyst for him to spiral out of control," Hahn said.
Magistrate Crompton agreed with Hahn's submission that Hall was better off serving his prison term in the community, and sentenced him to a 12-month community corrections order.
The court heard that Hall was currently working part-time for the ABC.
The ABC lists him as working as a reporter for ABC Local Radio, who also presents for the AM, PM and The World Today shows.
Hall was also a former executive producer of flagship ABC radio programme AM.
The court heard Hall could lose his job, but the ABC would not confirm whether he had been stood down as a result of his drug conviction.
"We're not commenting on this or giving any information," an ABC spokeswoman said.