Drug cook guilty of meth production

A DRUG cook who had his stomach surgically moved to his chest after ingesting caustic soda pleaded guilty to four drug production-related charges in the Supreme Court at Rockhampton last week.

John Leslie Gray, 44, had been in custody since September last year after his non-operational methamphetamine lab, set up in his mother's Bundaberg home, was shut down by police in April 2009.

The court heard Gray spent much of his pre-sentence custody in hospital undergoing 23 operations to move his stomach to the top right side of his chest after he accidentally ingested caustic soda in 2011.

Crown prosecutor Hamish McIntyre told the court police searched the home and found a drug lab "capable of being used in the past" along with glass ware, a condenser, a camp stove and 21 clip seal bags.

They also found 31g of cannabis and enough pseudoephedrine to make 3.2g of pure methamphetamine.

Mr McIntyre said Gray had an "appalling history" and was previously sentenced to seven years behind bars for producing methamphetamine in 1999.

"He is a residuous criminal and a residuous methamphetamine producer," he said.

Defence barrister Tom Polley said the father of three was "in the grips of drug use" at the time of offending.

"His oesophagus was ruined when he swallowed the caustic soda," he said.

"Most of his incarceration was spent in hospital."

Mr Polley said the lab was for Gray's personal use and to feed his methamphetamine addiction which began in his early 20s.

Justice Duncan McMeekin said Gray had been before the court on drug-related charges 17 times in the past.

"You know the drill; you have been before the court many times before," he said.

"No lecture from me will stop you, if a physical condition doesn't stop you from taking drugs, nothing will.

"You may not be destroying other people's lives but you are destroying your own," Justice McMeekin said.

Gray pleaded guilty to producing dangerous drugs, possessing dangerous drugs, possessing anything used in the commission of a crime under the drugs misuse act and possessing drug-related utensils.

Gray was sentenced to three years in prison for the drug lab charge, three months in prison for the possession charge and not further punished for the two summary charges.

The sentence was wholly suspended for four years.

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