A registered nurse has narrowly avoided jail time after being convicted of supplying drugs and possessing a prohibited firearm.
Mount Austin man Michael Wood appeared before Wagga’s District Court on Wednesday morning for sentencing.
On June 27, 2017, Wagga police executed a search warrant on Wood’s home after receiving information that Wood may have been supplying drugs.
During their search, officers discovered 11.34 grams of ice, 327.7 grams of cannabis, an ice pipe, spare resealable plastic bags, digital scales and a prohibited gun concealed underneath the cushions of his living room sofa.
The court heard that Wood was still going through the courts for previous drug supply offences that occurred almost a year earlier when the June, 2017 search warrant was executed.
Judge Gordon Lerve said the fact that Wood continued to supply drugs while he was being prosecuted for the same crime was baffling.
“Why should this court give you another chance when you do something like that? Something as blatant and as brazen as that,” Judge Lerve said.
“You, quite frankly, thumbed your nose at the court by continuing to offend.”
While the judge said Wood’s criminal history certainly afforded him no leniency before the law, the offender presented a lengthy collection of evidence to suggest he had changed his ways.
After being released from jail after a 64-day stay, Wood was admitted to Calvary Hospital in a full-time drug rehabilitation program, remaining there for six months until he graduated.
During his rehabilitation, Wood started volunteering with the Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust, O’Brien’s Hot Bake bakery and Camp Kurrajong.
He also started excersing multiple times a week, joined a football team, and Wood told the court that all of this meant he was now in a better headspace and far less likely to re-offend.
“I’ve tried to create a more supportive environment here at home,” Wood said.
“I’ve made sure I’ve kept myself around positive, good-minded people such as the football club, with the charity work, and even just attending the gym”
Wood added that he had not used an illicit substance since June last year.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Lerve said the fact that Wood re-offended while still going through the courts was a “matter of significant aggravation”.
“There is a very real issue of general deterrence relating to the supply of methamphetamine – it has become almost a mantra in this court,” he said.
“It is by no means, however, an exaggeration or hyperbole that barely a day, let alone a week, goes by that this court does not deal with young offenders who commit a serious offence under the influence of methamphetamine.
“It is by no means an exaggeration or hyperbole that methamphetamine is a scourge of this community.”
However, after hearing Wood’s comments of remorse and reading letters written by Annette and Peter St Clair and his mother, Judge Lerve decided to give Wood another chance to stay in the community.
“I am satisfied on balance, although there is some slight hesitation in this finding, that there are good prospects of rehabilitation” the judge said.
“Rehabilitation is rarely successful on the first occasion.”
Judge Lerve ordered the preparation of a report to determine if an intensive correction order of 18 months was suitable for Wood’s ice supply charges.
He also released Wood on a three-year good behaviour bond for supplying cannabis and possessing a prohibited firearm.
“You are escaping full time custody today by the barest of margins – you need to understand that,” Judge Lerve told him.
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