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Ice addict reoffends after four-month wait for counselling

LONG WAIT: The man was told he and his family might have more luck accessing support services if they moved away from Gladstone.
LONG WAIT: The man was told he and his family might have more luck accessing support services if they moved away from Gladstone. John Gass

A GLADSTONE veteran struggling with an ice addiction committed drug and other offences after spending four months waiting for support services he was supposed to receive as a condition of his probation.

The man appeared before Gladstone Magistrates Court on Friday and pleaded guilty to offences including drug possession, failure to appear, contravening a probation order and breaching a domestic violence order.

The offences were committed over a period from April 3 to August 11, a time during which the man's lawyer said her client had relapsed into his drug habit.

He was originally sentenced to probation in December, but was not asked to attend counselling services until April.

Defence lawyer Rio Ramos told the court her client had served in the conflict in Afghanistan and now suffered from an adjustment disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

The domestic violence charge related to an incident in April when the defendant was "on an ice binge" and had approached his partner while holding a knife to his own body, causing his partner to believe he had stabbed himself.

He also stabbed a bedroom door and a couch during the incident, which began because he "just wanted to be left alone", according to Ms Ramos.

"He said that most of his friends now are either in jail or are deceased as a result of drug use, and he doesn't want that to happen to himself," she told the court.

 

Gladstone Police Station and Court House. February 2017.
Gladstone Police Station and Court House. February 2017. Paul Braven GLA010217_Police_Cou

Magistrate Melanie Ho expressed frustration with the defendant, having watched him fail to engage with the legal system since April, but noted drug and relationship counselling had not been made available to him until four months after his probation began.

Ms Ho accepted the defence's point the reoffending may not have occurred were it not for the four months he spent without any supervision from Queensland Corrective Services or other government departments.

"If (the defendant and his partner) moved out of Gladstone and went somewhere else they might have a bit more hope with (counselling) resources," she said.

"But that's what it is, and that's what he's going to be facing, so he's got to help himself."

Ms Ho said rather than imposing a prison sentence with immediate parole, she would sentence the man to 120 hours of community service and extend his probation by another 12 months.

"I'd like him to do something apart from sitting and wasting his money and time on drugs," Ms Ho said.

"Perhaps with his skills and his knowledge and his history with the army... he will have valuable skills to give back to the community."

Topics:  drug addiction editors picks gladstonecourt ice meth ptsd


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