By Michael Giles
LAST week in the Korumburra Magistrates’ Court, one of the 16 people arrested in the Bass Coast area in August this year under police ‘Operation Granulate’ appeared to face numerous charges including trafficking a significant quantity of methylamphetamine.
The lawyer for the 21-year-old Wonthaggi offender told the court that his client should be allowed out of jail, after time served of 54 days, and placed on a community corrections order in deference to his age, prospects for rehabilitation and because the crime was “at the lower end of seriousness”.
But Magistrate Jacinta Studham did not agree.
She told the court that anyone convicted of trafficking methylamphetamine, especially six times the trafficable quantity, into an area like Bass Coast, where there was already “a significant problem with meth” deserved to go to jail.
She accused the offender of destroying people’s lives and bringing real problems into their own community in terms of criminal activity by trafficking in such an insidious drug.
The police prosecutor, Senior Constable Ange Wilken-Eilers, agreed.
“We don’t agree it is at the lower end. The fact that he refused police requests to unlock his phone is an aggravating factor. If he was only a drug mule, why wouldn’t he provide access to his phone,” SC Wilken-Eilers said.
“It took a large operation to detect this activity and it is of great concern to the public. There needs to be specific deterrence and also general deterrence in the Bass Coast area that drug trafficking will not be tolerated. A further term of imprisonment is certainly warranted,” she said.
It’s about time someone told it like it is.
Throughout the court system these days, many crimes including theft, family violence and driving offences are associated with the use and possession of methylamphetamine, so the low-life who are caught trafficking and making a profit out of this terrible drug deserve the full weight of the law.
It was pleasing to see the rate of crime down by almost 1 per cent for the year to June 30, 2019 but how much lower would it be without ice.
Any penalty, and it should be a heavy one for meth trafficking, should also carry with it serious assessment and treatment conditions to help break the cycle of addiction which is often behind this sort of criminal activity.
The magistrate also warned that conviction for “failing to comply with direction to assist” by providing passwords to open mobile phones and computers on request by police, carries with it a penalty of up to five years jail. Courts need to start hitting these offenders with heavy penalties for this offence as well.