Baby bonus used to buy bulk drugs for resale

REGIONAL Queensland centres such as Bundaberg are "rife" with drugs that are having a "devastating effect" on the community, a Supreme Court justice has observed.

In sentencing a man for trafficking speed from the Sunshine Coast to Bundaberg, Justice Ros Atkinson said the drugs usually went to those who could least afford to buy them.

She thanked police present in her court who helped "deal with this terrible scourge" in regional centres.

Justice Atkinson said she knew of people in Bundaberg who used the baby bonus to buy wholesale drugs and on-sell them.

"One of the problems with Bundaberg is how rife drugs are," she said.

"It's terribly depressing how regional centres in Queensland have become so infected by the use of drugs.

It's terribly depressing how regional centres in Queensland have become so infected by the use of drugs.

"The impact on the community is so widespread and across all generations.

"It uses up money for people who can ill afford it.

"Rather than spend money on necessities, they spend their money on drugs like speed.

"It affects their capacity to get and keep work, look after their families and children.

"It really has a huge devastating impact on the community, particularly in regional centres.

"Unfortunately in the courts you see the impact of these crimes every day."

Stephen John McCormack, 57, was jailed for seven years when he faced Brisbane Supreme Court yesterday for collecting about three ounces (85g) for about $3000 every week, over five months in 2008-09.

The Innes Park man will be eligible for parole after he serves two-and-a-half years.

Crown prosecutor Michael Lehane said McCormack had been caught in a large police operation targeting a criminal syndicate in southeast Queensland.

He said McCormack had regular phone conversations and was seen meeting with the man allegedly at the "top of the pyramid", William Barker, who is yet to face trial, on the Sunshine Coast.

Mr Lehane said McCormack was profit-driven, buying wholesale and distributing speed through Bundaberg, but he did not have the "trappings of wealth".

Defence barrister David James said his client had been a "fairly unsuccessful businessman" throughout his life.

He said the father of four had financial and emotional worries after a family break-down which led him down the path of accepting an offer from Barker.

Mr James said McCormack had met Barker through his small truck business and a friendship had developed.

COMMUNITY IMPACTS

Queensland Supreme Court Justice Ros Atkinson says the community impacts of meth use include:

Violence, and subsequent injuries, among young men at night

Assaults on women

Disinhibiting effects on the brain

Social impacts

Takes money from people who can ill afford it

Affects ability to get and retain work

Affects ability to care for children


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