Townsville Bulletin

Traffickin­g lands dad in jail

Pandemic struggles led Maggie cook to sell marijuana

- ASHLEY PILLHOFER

A MAGNETIC Island cook who was caught ferrying drugs from the mainland has been jailed after pleading guilty to traffickin­g marijuana.

Matthew Scott Diesing, 36, faced Townsville District Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to nine drug offences.

The court was told the single father began selling drugs to make money after his financial struggles were exacerbate­d during the coronaviru­s pandemic.

Crown Prosecutor Scott Collins said phone messages and Diesing’s confession­s showed he trafficked marijuana for about eight months during which it is estimated he sold just under a kilo of substance.

Mr Collins said police searched the man’s Amaroo Resort home in April last year where they found drug parapherna­lia. He was later intercepte­d at the ferry terminal in Townsville and was found carrying 95g of marijuana and more drug-related items.

Diesing told police he intended to sell the drugs for an estimated $1200.

Police searched his home in June last year and again found drugs and related items.

Mr Collins said Diesing profited less than $5000 over the eight months.

“It was low-level street dealing effectivel­y,” he said.

“It was not an organised network and it is also important that it was not a great deal of money.”

Defence barrister Darin Honchin said Diesing had been a long-term marijuana user since his teens, but dabbled with meth “on and off”.

Mr Honchin said his client had family support and the support of his employer on Magnetic Island.

Both lawyers said a punishment of two-and-a-half years custody was appropriat­e, although Mr Honchin asked the court for immediate parole while Mr Collins asked the court to impose a short period behind bars.

Judge Gregory Lynham said while marijuana was perceived as a less serious drug, deterring people from committing similar crimes was important. In sentencing, he said that he took into account Diesing’s co-operation with police, dated drug history and his personal circumstan­ces.

He said the informatio­n the father provided to police doubled the length of time that officers were able to prove he was selling drugs.

As a result of this, Judge Lynham said he afforded Diesing a “greater discount” in setting his parole release date earlier than normal.

Diesing was sentenced to two-and-a-half years jail and is required to serve four months behind bars before he is released on parole in February next year.

A serious drug offence certificat­e was issued.

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