Judge: Meth is the new cash
The use of methamphetamine and cannabis as currency for stolen goods is so common, it has become an everyday feature at most courts, a judge claims.
Judge Tony Adeane made the remark while sentencing William Stuthridge, 50, in the Napier District Court on Friday.
Police searched Stuthridge’s house in late September last year, following a spate of residential and commercial burglaries in the area.
They found $10,000 worth of stolen items.
When Stuthridge was searched police located 4 grams of methamphetamine in four individual bags.
They also found snaplock bags containing 84g of cannabis, 1285g of frozen cannabis leaf, several scales and empty point bags.
Stuthridge pleaded guilty to charges of possession of cannabis and methamphetamine for supply, and receiving stolen property.
Judge Adeane said the combination of charges involving receiving stolen goods and possession for drugs for supply ‘‘represents more than the sum of its individual parts’’.
He said, traditionally, the charge of receiving involved the purchase of stolen goods with cash at below value prices.
‘‘This facilitated the careers of professional burglars and thieves, and the judicial response to it was calculated accordingly,’’ Judge Adeane said.
He said it was reasonable to infer from Stuthridge’s offending that drugs – including the ‘‘highly
The combination of charges ... ‘‘represents more than the sum of its individual parts’’.
addictive substance methamphetamine’’ – had taken the place of cash as the burglar’s reward for stolen property.
This meant the offending had ‘‘a particularly pernicious aspect’’ in that it encouraged addiction and property theft as a solution to funding the addiction.
‘‘This kind of activity where thefts are committed for methamphetamine is at the heart of the anecdotal experience of most judges daily,’’ Judge Adeane said.
He noted a probation officer’s report that said Stuthridge was in a settled relationship and his partner was soon to give birth.
He also noted that Stuthridge had a 35-year criminal history and an ‘‘apparently intractable propensity for dishonesty’’.
While the probation officer recommended a sentence of home detention, Judge Adeane said this looked past Stuthridge’s history and the components of the offending.
The judge said the quantity of cannabis was 49 times greater than the amount deemed to be commercial, and the amount of stolen material showed Stuthridge had encouraged and supported an antisocial industry.
Judge Adeane sentenced Stuthridge to three years in prison.