'Most people have good birthdays without cocaine'

A MAGISTRATE told a Bundaberg man in Gympie Magistrates Court that most people could celebrate their birthday without cocaine.

The court heard nervous behaviour during a routine roadside licence check on March 17 and random breath test alerted police there was more than met the eye when Norville man Brendan Michael Nichols was stopped.

Nichols, 31, consented to a police search of his car while stopped during his return trip to Bundaberg from Brisbane.

During the search at 3.50am, a white crystal substance, later found to be one gram of speed, was in a plastic bag near the driver's seat.

More plastic bags were found during the search, including another containing two grams of cocaine in a carry bag on the passenger seat. A quantity of cash was also uncovered, which police suspected may have been connected to the drugs.

The money was originally totalled at $2620, but case conferencing between the defendant and Police Prosecution prior to Tuesday's court hearing revised the amount at $1310.

Nichols told police the money was from selling car parts, though he was unable to provide police with receipts to substantiate his claim.

Pleading guilty to two charges of drug possession and being in possession of proceeds related to a drug crime, Nichols compounded his woes with a further guilty plea for failing to appear in court on April 28.

Nichols' lawyer said his client had a limited history and the drugs were for his own personal use at his birthday party later that month.

The lawyer also sought no conviction be recorded so as to not impact his client's employment prospects, noting Nichols was pleading guilty and that case conferencing had avoided the need for trial.

Magistrate Baldwin said Nichols was no longer a teenager.

"You should be past those years," she said.

"Most people have good ... birthday celebrations without cocaine."

Nichols was fined $900 for the charge of having proceeds from a drug crime and ordered to forfeit the $1310 in cash. For failing to appear, he was fined $330.

Mrs Baldwin also granted Nichols' request to not have a conviction recorded.

"More than $2500 - you could have had a good birthday for that," Mrs Baldwin said in view of the fines' total.

Gympie Times

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