Plea change on drug charges
“YOU’VE got an introduction to the court system today,” Magistrate John Smith told Kevin Jai William Middleton as the 43-year-old fumbled his way through last Friday’s hearing.
Magistrate Smith was responding to Middleton’s double backflip, as the Isis River man changed his mind three times when entering a plea.
He faced five charges, which included possessing and producing dangerous drugs (marijuana) and obstructing police.
Middleton was supposed to front Bundaberg Magistrates Court on September 22, but failed to appear.
He claimed to have had the hearing transferred to Childers Magistrates Court.
Middleton stumbled when asked to enter a plea and eventually said he would plead not guilty, but a signed document in which Middleton said he would plead guilty to all charges caused more confusion.
Magistrate Smith said Middleton would be remanded in custody until November 14 if he pleaded not guilty due to his earlier non-attendance at Bundaberg.
Middleton said that could not happen due to his role as a “full-time carer” and eventually settled on a guilty plea.
He told the court he had only kept the marijuana plants to help his client, who was “at the end of her tether”.
“There is nothing medical science can do. Sometimes you just forget about what’s right and what’s wrong,” Middleton said.
Middleton said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, but Magistrate Smith replied the disorder did not “stop you from complying with the law” and added the court would “not be deceived”.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Hayley Glover said police found three cannabis plants growing under lights, with a further 32 plants in a garden.
All plants were between 30–90cm tall and in “healthy, well-kept” condition.
A further 2.5g of marijuana were found in Middleton’s possession, and an electric grinder, which Sen Const Glover said was used to chop marijuana, was located near his office.
Middleton refused to co-operate with police during the search and obstructed police officer Andrew Self.
Middleton has a history of drug-related offences, his first in Gladstone in 1993.
He was also charged with obstructing and assaulting police in 1990 and 1998.
Magistrate Smith chose not to imprison Middleton, but did fine him a total of $4150 and left him with a stern warning:
“Offend again and you will go to jail.”