Traf­ficker shaves jail term down

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

A CAN­NON­VALE drug traf­ficker has suc­cess­fully fought to re­duce his jail sen­tence after ar­gu­ing he is re­ha­bil­i­tated.

Robert Ben­jamin Frith, 38, was ordered in Mackay Supreme Court in Novem­ber to serve 80% of a six-year jail sen­tence for sup­ply­ing an un­der­cover of­fi­cer with $2000 worth of methy­lam­phetamine as well as for traf­fick­ing the drug for al­most a year in 2014-15.

He told an un­der­cover agent he had $450,000 stored and was look­ing to save $1 mil­lion but it was sug­gested at sen­tenc­ing this con­ver­sa­tion was boast­ing and not based on truth.

Frith supplied more than 77g, con­tain­ing about 58g of pure methy­lam­phetamine, in ex­change for $36,150 cash dur­ing the traf­fick­ing pe­riod. He paid a woman a weekly sum to sell drugs on his be­half eight hours a day, seven days a week.

Frith had a long his­tory of drug of­fences in­clud­ing sup­ply, pro­duc­tion and pos­ses­sion.

The sen­tenc­ing judge de­scribed a whole­sale op­er­a­tion with con­sid­er­able plan­ning and so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

While the sen­tenc­ing judge said he would over­look his doubts about Frith’s ac­tual re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, Frith ar­gued in the Queens­land Court of Ap­peal that he was not given proper credit for re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing.

In a judg­ment handed down on Fri­day, three ap­peal court jus­tices granted the ap­peal. They re­duced the sen­tence from six to five years jail and sus­pended the term after Frith has served 3.5 years be­hind bars.

Jus­tice David Bod­dice said Frith had un­der­taken more than just steps to­wards re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

“De­spite ac­knowl­edg­ing the im­pres­sive­ness of the ma­te­rial placed be­fore the court and dis­miss­ing a lurk­ing fear as to its gen­uine­ness, the sen­tenc­ing judge sen­tenced (Frith) on the ba­sis he had taken ‘steps to­wards’ and had made ‘ef­forts at’ re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.”

— RAE WILSON

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