No jail for drug dealer stu­dent

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SAM BIDEY

A MAN who moon­lighted as a drug traf­ficker while at univer­sity in Townsville has been spared from jail to al­low him to com­plete an en­gi­neer­ing de­gree.

Jack David Cun­nah pleaded guilty to a string of drug charges, in­clud­ing traf­fick­ing cannabis, at Townsville Supreme Court yes­ter­day.

The 23-year-old was por­trayed in court as some­one peo­ple would be sur­prised was in­volved in se­ri­ous drug of­fend­ing.

De­fence bar­ris­ter Har­vey Wal­ters said Cun­nah was welle­d­u­cated, the son of a nurse and an IT pro­fes­sional, who had com­pleted a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in ge­ol­ogy at James Cook Univer­sity and had been ac­cepted into a civil en­gi­neer­ing de­gree at Swin­burne Univer­sity in Mel­bourne.

“He is a young man who you might won­der, ‘how did he get him­self in­volved in this’,” Mr Wal­ters said. “He in­structs me he was smok­ing cannabis and us­ing so much cannabis that he was fi­nan­cially suf­fer­ing be­cause of this.

“He and some friends de­cided they would get to­gether and pur­chase drugs in big­ger quan­ti­ties so it wasn’t so ex­pen­sive. He took up an op­por­tu­nity fool­ishly and then was on the tick list.”

The court heard Cun­nah used ap­pli­ca­tions on his mo­bile phone de­signed to delete mes­sages in an ef­fort to avoid de­tec­tion of his drug-re­lated cor­re­spon­dence, but that didn’t stop po­lice from charg­ing him af­ter a raid on a Dou­glas house in Oc­to­ber 2017.

Dur­ing the raid po­lice seized 93g of cannabis, more than $1200 in cash, drug uten­sils and Cun­nah’s mo­bile phone.

Foren­sic anal­y­sis of the phone showed he was sell­ing drugs to be­tween 12 and 16 peo­ple over a pe­riod of about six months be­fore his ar­rest.

Crown prose­cu­tor Dane Mar­ley said Cun­nah told po­lice he op­er­ated the drug busi­ness to fund his own ad­dic­tion, which was con­sis­tent with the ev­i­dence that was seized.

How­ever, Mr Mar­ley said there was a de­gree of so­phis­ti­ca­tion to Cun­nah’s en­ter­prise and noted he would sup­ply cannabis for cash and on credit.

Jus­tice David North took into ac­count Cun­nah’s youth and prospect of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion dur­ing sen­tenc­ing.

Cun­nah was sen­tenced to two-and-a-half years in jail, wholly sus­pended for a pe­riod of three years.

Jack David Cun­nah.

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