Drug dealer’s last chance warning

Geraldton Guardian
Magistrate Donna Webb deals with many cannabis offences at Geraldton Courthouse.
Camera IconMagistrate Donna Webb deals with many cannabis offences at Geraldton Courthouse. Credit: Anita Kirkbright / Geraldton Guardian, Anita Kirkbright

A Geraldton magistrate told a 37-year-old cannabis dealer he was contributing to youth crime, when she handed down a suspended prison sentence.

Police found 491g of cannabis in Damien Andrew Gillespie’s car when they stopped him on Brand Highway near Cape Burney on April 11, the court heard.

When officers seized his phone they found a number of texts related to the sale of cannabis — including one in which he discussed selling a pound of the drug for $4000.

Gillespie appeared in Geraldton Magistrate’s Court last week charged with possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply, possession of cannabis, breach of a family violence restraining order, and four counts of offering to sell or supply a prohibited drug.

He had pleaded guilty to all charges during a previous appearance in October.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Tanja Wentzel said the seized phone also contained 1684 text messages between Gillespie and a protected person who had taken out a restraining order against him.

However, she said the nature of the conversations was not abusive.

Magistrate Donna Webb said it appeared the restraining order, which was later cancelled, should have been lifted earlier than it had been.

For the charges of possessing cannabis and breaching the restraining order, she fined Gillespie $500 and ordered him to pay $200 in costs.

But she said he “did not appear to appreciate the seriousness of the (other) charges”. “Drugs are the source of almost all crimes that occur in this town,” Ms Webb said.

“We have juvenile offenders who come into this court for engaging in crimes ... to pay for their cannabis use. You are part of that problem.”

Ms Webb sentenced Gillespie to nine months jail conditionally suspended for 12 months.

She said even a “simple possession” charge during those 12 months could land him in prison.

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