'Easily accessible': Party drugs rife in region, court told
AN APPRENTICE Moranbah miner was taking up to 13 MDA-based pills a night when he was busted by police with a haul of the recreational drug he'd set aside for New Year's celebrations.
Jack Shane Kettleton's lawyer told a court his use of the pills indicated just how "easily accessible" drugs are within the Mackay club scene.
The 19-year-old faced Mackay District Court on Tuesday, pleading guilty to possessing 27 pills of MDA/methylamphetamine, and a small amount of marijuana.
MDA is similar to and predates the use of the drug ecstasy (MDMA).
An iPhone which Kettleton used to source 40 MDA pills was seized and resulted in another charge of possessing a thing used in the commission of a crime, which also attracted a guilty plea.
Kettleton - who had no criminal record but was convicted of drug driving (a traffic offence) late last year - was supported in court by his parents.
Crown prosecutor Alex Baker summed up the facts and said Kettleton was caught by police during a traffic stop in Moranbah on December 29 last year.
"His phone was seized. Messages that were exchanged ... in the week leading up to the offences related to the defendant's purchases of 40 pills for $25 each - that's a $1000 outlay," she said.
"The Crown alleges the quantity of the pills supported commercial potential ... there was no evidence that he was going to (sell them)."
Ms Baker said deterrence was important, "due to the harm drugs cause to the community", but conceded it was "not inevitable" convictions would be recorded.
Defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan, instructed by Taylors Solicitors, said Kettleton began using ecstasy and marijuana socially last year.
"By the time he turned 18 ... he says that he was using ecstasy every time he went out to the clubs. He says that his normal usage was about six tablets a night and about 15 over a weekend, generally speaking," she said.
"On Boxing Day (2016), a nightclub was in fact open and he went out on that night and he consumed ecstasy tablets ... he took 13 that night."
Since he was charged, Kettleton had undertaken counselling, attended doctors and sought help through his work for his drug problem, Ms Hartigan said.
The barrister added Kettleton, who was remorseful and made early guilty pleas, had passed multiple urine tests and could be considered rehabilitated.
A raft of positive character references were tendered in Kettleton's favour and Ms Hartigan pushed hard for a conviction to not be recorded, due to a possible impact on the second year diesel fitter's future employment.
Judge Deborah Richards did not record convictions and placed Kettleton on probation for two years