Bundaberg Court House.
Bundaberg Court House.

‘APPALLING HISTORY’: Man falls back on drugs after gun wound

Despite his young age, a 25-year-old defendant's criminal history was described in court as "appalling."

Facing the Bundaberg Magistrates Court, Nicholas Stephen Smith pleaded guilty to a total of eight offences committed in May last year.

Living in Toowoomba at the time of all offences, he was intercepted by police for a random roadside drug test on May 1 last year.

Smith returned a positive result for methamphetamine and Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Just days later on May 3 police asked the defendant to pull over, searched the defendant's vehicle and found 0.33g of methamphetamine as well as a water pipe which had been used.

Then on May 19 police executed a search warrant at the property where Smith was living and when they attempted to direct the defendant away from his bedroom so they could conduct a search, Smith resisted officers and knocked their hands away.

Police then found 1.6 grams of marijuana, less than half a gram of methamphetamine, an electric grinder and a water pipe in the defendant's bedroom.

Duty lawyer Craig Ryan said Smith had been estranged from his family for more than five years before relocating back to Woodgate from Toowoomba to reconcile with his mother in January.

The court heard the defendant had made significant changes to his life since returning home, was working, seeking counselling and had stopped taking drugs.

Mr Ryan said his client had tried to clean himself up in Toowoomba by getting a job but had to resign after he was shot in the hand and had to have reconstructive surgery.

After his employment stopped Smith began living in a share house with friends and started using drugs again.

Police Prosecutor Sergeant Grant Klassen said Smith's criminal history included drug offending since 2015 and two instances of bail breaches.

Mr Ryan said his client was open to seeking more formal counselling if the court instructed him to, was willing to work with others to improve his life and understands he did not take advantage of previous opportunities.

Magistrate Andrew Maloney said he felt recording a conviction was necessary given the defendant's "appalling" criminal history.

The duty lawyer said while he couldn't argue with that, he was confident it wouldn't be a wasted opportunity if his client was placed on probation.

Letters of recommendation were supplied referring to the defendant's good character shown in recent times from his employer, a friend and his mother, who attended court to support her son.

Magistrate Maloney said Smith had previously received fines, probation and community service, all of which had been unsuccessful so far and an ordinary but relevant criminal history for a young man.

"When I read your mother's letter you could feel the frustration coming through the letter and the relief you're back … you've just got to keep that way," the Bundaberg Magistrate said.

"You're actually more lucky than most in that you have a supportive mother who is prepared to be there now that you've shown that you're willing to make some changes.

"If this (continues) Mr Smith, particularly with the methamphetamine, life is going to develop into something very difficult for you in the future.

"You still actually have a lot of work to do - you don't just walk out of here today and just go 'phew that's over - I'm not going to touch drugs again.'

"Things are going to happen in your life that are difficult and stressful and things are going to happen to loved ones but you've got to make sure that you don't return to this kind of behaviour to try and make yourself feel better.

"You haven't been in trouble since May last year so I'm going to give you an opportunity on probation to try and cement the good work you've done and also just to ensure you keep on the right path."

Smith was charged with obstructing police, possessing anything used in commission of a crime, drug driving, two counts of possessing drug utensils or pipes and three counts of possessing drugs.

He was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for six months and fined $500 for the driving charge and received 15 months' probation with special conditions all other offences.

Convictions were recorded and items were forfeited for destruction.