‘Occupational hazard’ for drug dealer cited in court

June 30, 2016 | By More

Court House-07Being set up for a robbery might be regarded as “an occupational hazard” for dealers who sell rock salt as crystal meth, a lawyer suggested at a woman’s Christchurch District Court sentencing on Thursday.

The Christchurch dealer had sold rock salt “to a group for whom the Disputes Tribunal is not the first or most obvious place of recourse,” said Craig Ruane, defence counsel for 22-year-old Casey Marie Chamberlain.

Chamberlain was sobbing and in tears as she heard from Judge Paul Kellar that she was going to jail for one year ten months for her role in the robbery of the dealer.

The judge refused home detention. The pre-sentence report showed that the suggested home detention address was ruled out by the Probation Service because of the other people living there.

The case began as a kidnapping of the drug dealer, but Chamberlain pleaded guilty when the charge was reduced in March to assault with intent to rob.

Her partner at the time, Chad Adam Carrington, 25, has already been jailed for two years. A third alleged offender, who the police say was armed with a taser, has pleaded not guilty and is still to go on trial.

Mr Ruane today urged the judge to impose community work and supervision on Chamberlain, for her role in an incident that had “rapidly spiralled way beyond her contemplation or expectation”.

She did not have an extensive criminal history and supervision would help deal with her behavioural and drug and alcohol problems.

He described her partner at the time, Carrington, as “a man who a parent would not consider was suitable for their daughter”. He had a serious criminal history.

The group had felt “ripped off” by being sold rock salt instead of methamphetamine, and being set up for robbery might be considered an occupational hazard for dealers who sold things which were not what they said.

Judge Kellar said the dealer had been contacted when her advertising was noticed on Facebook and she had been lured to an Armagh Street house where some of the group lived, ostensibly for another drug deal.

Once she was inside, Carrington had locked the door, demanded her cellphone, and another woman had allegedly threatened her with a crackling taser held near her head. Carrington went outside and told the dealer’s waiting boyfriend that they better return the $300 from the earlier drug deal if he wanted to see his girlfriend again.

The boyfriend drove off and called the police, who then arrived and arrested the three who have been charged.

The dealer had been punched several times, including once by Chamberlain, but was uninjured apart from the redness to the face. “Undoubtedly the experience must have been most unsettling for her,” said the judge.

Chamberlain was seen as a medium risk of offending. She said she had been using cannabis regularly but had only used methamphetamine socially, three or four times. While on bail she had breached her curfew twice, and had also admitted not living at the required address.

She had been living “an unstructured lifestyle”. She was unemployed and was the mother of a child who was not in her care.

He jailed her for 22 months and imposed six months of post-release special conditions.

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