NAMED AND SHAMED: The Nanango locals sentenced over drugs
FIVE people were sentenced for drug related charges at the Nanango Magistrates Court and struck with a harsh reminder of how serious drug offences are viewed in the eyes of the law.
Samuel Joseph Topia, 35, pleaded guilty to producing a dangerous drug, possessing a dangerous drug, and possessing drug utensils that had been used.
During a search warrant executed at Topia’s Wattle Camp address on November 5, police located 12 cannabis plants, as well as four grams of cannabis and cannabis seeds, police prosecutor sergeant Pepe Gangemi told the court.
Topia’s lawyer Jay Rose said he suffers from spinal damage as a result of an accident and smokes cannabis to assist with the pain.
“He’s on the medical program for cannabis. He has about 10 grams in a jar and that lasts him around about 20 days, at about half a gram per day. He’s permitted to smoke it when it’s in a vaporiser,” she said.
“That costs him $165, which is quite a significant cost to him on a disability support pension, and therefore he has engaged in research without the permit permitted to undertake this research.”
“His is the process of obtaining the permit to grow and research around this growth for medicinal use.”
He has a previous conviction for producing a dangerous drug dating back to 2018.
“I understand that you, like many people, wish to produce smoke and use cannabis for medicinal purposes, and some for recreational purposes,” Magistrate Andrew Sinclair said.
“But it’s simply unlawful. A lot of people are surprised when they hear how serious this charge is regarded.”
Topia was slapped with a $1000 fine, which has been referred to SPER.
Convictions were recorded.
Jayden David Holloway pleaded guilty to three charges, including producing cannabis, possessing cannabis, and possessing a drug utensil, namely a bong.
Sergeant Gangemi said a search warrant executed on the morning of October 21, uncovered five plants, as well as 5.89 grams of cannabis and a bong.
Ms Rose said the seedlings were intended for personal use and her client uses cannabis to manage his anxiety.
With a minimal criminal history behind him, she suggested a good behaviour bond might be in order to assist him.
“The maximum penalty to cannabis possession is 15 years and that’s just possession,” Magistrate Sinclair said.
“As attractive as cannabis might appear, there are a number of lawful substitutions.”
Holloway was placed on a good behaviour bond at a sum of $750, which was suspended for a period of 12 months.
Emily Grace Anthony, 28, pleaded guilty to five charges before the court, including producing a dangerous drug, driving without a licence, and driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle.
On April 27, 2020, a search warrant of Anthony’s Blackbutt address located a 10cm cannabis plant, which she claimed to have grown for personal use.
“She suffers from depression and anxiety and was previously prescribed Mirtazapine and Lyrica,” defence lawyer Mark Werner said.
He said Anthony was in a relationship with someone known to police at the time of the offending, but has since changed her circumstances.
The first traffic charge dates back to October 17, 2019. After being disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver‘s license, Anthony was caught behind the wheel while travelling along Pine Street at Blackbutt.
The other three traffic violations were committed on March 8, 2020, while Anthony was driving along Hart Street at Blackbutt. At the time she was disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence, and her vehicle was both uninsured and unregistered.
Magistrate Sinclair placed Anthony on an 18 month period of probation in relation to all five charges.
For the first driving offence, she was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver‘s licence for two years.
For the second she was disqualified for a further three years, resulting in a five year disqualification in total.
Shane David Richards pleaded guilty to one charge before Nanango Magistrates Court, after failing to properly dispose of a hypodermic syringe.
According to sergeant Gangemi, about midday on October 6, a search warrant located the syringe in a Gatorade bottle.
With his early plea in mind, Richards was convicted and fined $400, which was referred to SPER.
The conviction was recorded.
Steve Patterson pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing dangerous drugs and one count of possessing drug utensils before the court.
On October 23, sergeant Gangemi said a search warrant of his Nanango address located a pouch containing a “stem” and a small bag containing methamphetamine, as well as a bong.
Patterson was fined a total of $350 for all three charges, which was referred to SPER.
Convictions were recorded.