The convicted murderer was caught driving while disqualified with methamphetamine in his system at Wagga

Wagga Local Court
Wagga Local Court

A convicted murderer has been thrown back in jail after breaching his parole by driving disqualified while under the influence of drugs. 

Steven Charles Smit, 47, appeared in Wagga Local Court via video link from custody on Monday. 

Smit was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 12 years in 2005, after murdering his friend in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney in August 2001. 

Craig Patrick Collins was found dead and wrapped in a blanket. He had been stabbed several times and bashed with a cricket bat.

Solicitor Alina Yousif told the court Smit’s parole required him to reside at a Wagga pub but he had instead decided to relocate to Adelaide. 

“He was surrounded by negative influences at that pub,” she said. 

“It can be a difficult place to be for someone with substance abuse issues and he started using the drug ice.” 

Ms Yousif said her client had checked into a two-week detox program in Adelaide where he has since resided with a new partner, remaining drug free. 

“He tried not to become institutionalised but after years in custody for a murder charge he has found himself suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” she said. 

“He thought it was the right thing to do but he accepts responsibility for the offences.”

Smit pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle with an illicit drug in his system and two counts of driving while disqualified. 

According to documents tendered to the court, Smit was caught driving while disqualified on August 11 at Henty. Less than 10 days later he was caught driving while disqualified and under the influence of methamphetamine at East Wagga. 

Magistrate Erin Kennedy told Smit he needed to stop the “blame game”. 

“This was a person on parole for murder and he is back here re-offending again,” Ms Kennedy said. 

“He seems to be suggesting it’s everyone else’s fault but he chose to take himself out of the jurisdiction. I don’t accept that community corrections weren’t trying to ensure his rehabilitation. 

“He decided to take those drugs and he wasn’t being asked to do anything extraordinary – just to obey the law.” 

He was disqualified from driving for a total of three years, placed on a two-year good behaviour bond, fined $500 and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. 

Smit will attend a parole hearing in six weeks’ time.