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Drug stash hidden in laundry

The Proserpine Court House Photo Peter Carruthers / Whitsunday Times
The Proserpine Court House Photo Peter Carruthers / Whitsunday Times Peter Carruthers

"THEY stink, they really do.”

Those were the words Magistrate Simon Young used to describe the facts presented when an Airlie Beach man pleaded guilty to charges of possessing dangerous drugs and drug utensils in Proserpine Court on Monday.

During a police raid of his share-house on August 19 3.40pm Shane Malcolm Johnston, 29, revealed more than a kilogram of cannabis hidden in his bedroom's laundry basket.

The court heard the former army rifleman co-operated with police during the search of his Hermitage Dr home, showing them his 1.2 kilogram stash of weed and claimed to share a further 19 grams of cannabis found in a communal area as well as a bong, grinders and scales with his house mate who was the primary target of the search warrant.

Johnston also claimed ownership of a bag containing 8.9 grams of MDMA found in his house mate's bedroom.

Duty Lawyer Elizabeth Smith said without Johnston's omissions, as the MDMA was located elsewhere, it would have been difficult to link the drug to him personally.

Magistrate Simon Young stated while he must sentence on the facts, in this case "they stink”.

"While I am instructed with the court's standing that if Mr Johnston has this amount of cannabis and MDMA which he has taken responsibility for but in circumstances it just seems like he's taking the fall for someone else,” he said.

The court heard Johnston had bought the MDMA for his upcoming birthday and he had already taken some with his house mate in his house mate's bedroom, explaining its presence there.

Ms Smith said Johnston had been injured during a pack march in 2013 resulting in his being medically discharged from the army.

"The root of his drug use has been primarily due to the injury he received in the armed forces,” she said.

"He was unable to work for a period of time and self medicated with cannabis and only started using drugs when he left the army.”

Magistrate Young responded by saying he had a great deal of cynicism about the story.

"For someone who is working 24 hours a week happens to have five grand available to buy 1.4 kilos of cannabis and a further $1500 available to buy the MDMA, that doesn't make any sense in the absence of an explanation, personal use or otherwise.”

"If I am considering an order of probation, which I am prepared to do today, it comes with a very large grain of salt.

"I am not entirely satisfied with what has been put before the court - I have to work with it and I don't have to like it and I don't like it.”

Johnson received 18 months probation and no conviction.

Topics:  crime drugs

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