A MAN has been jailed for five years after a jury rejected his excuse that he believed a stash of the drug liquid fantasy hidden in Pepsi and cordial bottles was "holy water from Mecca".
Kamal El-Boussairi faced a District Court trial on a charge of drug trafficking - and told the jury he had never heard of the drug fantasy before his arrest in December 2014.
El-Boussairi, 50, insisted he had nothing to do with 1.8 litres of the liquid drug, which police found sealed inside a Pepsi bottle and a lime cordial bottle after opening a safe at the home he shared with his brother.
In sentencing, Judge Susanne Cole said El-Boussairi told the court he had allowed his brother to use the safe and had only noticed the bottles sealed with adhesive tape about three weeks before his arrest.
"You said that you thought that the bottles contained Zamzam water, which is holy water from Mecca," Judge Cole said.
"You denied under oath putting the bottles in the safe. Under cross-examination you emphatically and with high emotion denied possessing drugs for sale."
However, after being found guilty, El-Boussairi told a psychologist he had obtained the drugs as collateral for $1200 he had loaned to a friend of his brother, unaware the drugs he possessed could be sold for much more.
Judge Cole said El-Boussairi had worked as a security guard since coming to Australia from Morocco and continued to blame his brother for exposing him to the drug scene.
"In taking the drug as collateral for a loan of money, you were relying on the commercial value of the drug," she said.
"You were prepared to sell it, contrary to your emotional evidence at trial by which you showed clearly that you understand that drugs can cause harm to people who take them."
Judge Cole said El-Boussairi's admission that he continued to use cannabis to help him sleep counted against his lawyer's submissions he should receive a suspended sentence.
"You have continued to play a part in the supply chain of unlawful drugs, namely cannabis, albeit as a consumer," she said.
El-Boussairi must serve two years and three months before being eligible for parole.
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