Workplace poisoning leads Kingaroy man down dark path
A KINGAROY man charged with dealing drugs, including to a 17-year-old, turned to selling cannabis after duboisia poisoning forced him into unemployment.
Graham Tony James, 42, pleaded guilty to 28 charges before Kingaroy District Court today, including 27 counts of supply and one count of supplying to a minor over a three-month period last year. He supplied a total of 32 grams to 7 people during this time.
In relation to the defendant‘s criminal history, Crown prosecutor A. Stark said James’ previous convictions were “somewhat unusual for someone who finds himself before the court under these circumstances”, given such a minor criminal history.
Mr Stark said James’ last conviction dates back 13 and a half years ago, detailing a minor utensil possession charge.
According to defence lawyer Catherine Cuthbert, her client turned to selling cannabis after losing his job last year, after handling a toxic substance that caused his skin to crack and bleed.
“Prior to this offending, he’d been working in a duboisia factory, and that is a plant that has a thick corky bark,” Ms Cuthbert said.
“That bark is processed, and as a result of the processing, there is a fair amount of dust created, and exposure to high levels of the dust can cause a toxic reaction.”
“In the eyes, in the lungs, to the skin, and can also have an effect where people feel high.”
Ms Cuthbert said James’ came down with duboisia toxicity, resulting in an allergic skin reaction, somewhat similar to eczema, causing dried cracked skin that would bleed.
“He just simply could not continue with that employment and he became unemployed,” she said.
With unemployment exacerbating previous mental health diagnosis, Ms Cuthbert said James’ turned to cannabis to manage his depression and anxiety, and the dealings were primarily to cover the costs for his own personal use and living expenses.
In relation to the charge of supplying to a minor, Ms Cuthbert instructed the court the recipient was a 17-year-old, who claims to have collected the cannabis on behalf of his grandfather, who suffers from poor health.
“We have here a man who has a good working history and supports his family, who has fallen on hard times due to a health condition. He becomes depressed, his cannabis use increases, and in order to fund that cannabis use, he gets into these supplies,” she said.
“When this man lost his employment, his life stopped, and he stopped. Some community service hours might get him moving again.”
Judge Geraldine Dann said, given the circumstances, she was “willing to accept remorse and acceptance of responsibility”.
James’ was placed on an 18 month period of probation and must complete 200 hours of unpaid community service within the next 12 months.
“I punish you in a way that’s just in all the circumstances. I have to consider deterrence, general and specific, so these types of offences don’t occur again in the community, and as so far as you need to be discouraged so you don’t continue to commit these offences again.”
“I need to make it clear that the Queensland community denounces this type of conduct.”
No convictions were recorded.