PROBATION ORDER: Jake McDermid leaves court after admitting to a drug offence. The court was told he had a $14,000 SPER debt.
PROBATION ORDER: Jake McDermid leaves court after admitting to a drug offence. The court was told he had a $14,000 SPER debt. Ross Irby

Drug-growing tradie owes $14k in fines

A TRADIE busted for growing marijuana blamed insomnia and anxiety for his offending.

Jake Richard McDermid, 28, from Yamanto, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to unlawfully producing dangerous drugs at Yamanto on June 12; possession of anything used in a drug crime; possession of dangerous drugs Schedule 2 - drug quantity of/or exceeding Schedule 3; failing to appear in court; and contravening a police direction for identification details.

The court was told the sleepless welder and father of two, had a debt of $14,000 in unpaid fines.

Prosecutor, Acting Sergeant Bernard Elmore, said McDermid was sentenced in October for producing an illicit drug, then caught committing the same offence in June.

Sgt Elmore said McDermid's set-up had a grow tent, lights, charcoal filter, exhaust fan, pots and fertiliser, with a grinder and water pipe also found.

The six marijuana plants were 1m tall and 831 grams of cannabis was also found.

Defence lawyer Natasha Shorter said McDermid began using cannabis 18 months ago when unable to sleep and relax due to a relationship breakdown.

"It was introduced to him for his insomnia,” Ms Shorter said.

She said he did not use the drug after his conviction but because of his anxiety and insomnia went back to using.

He had since acknowledged his issue and seen his doctor and intended to do counselling, she said.

She said he had a new job where he was drug tested.

Magistrate Jason Schubert asked McDermid if he paid the previous court fine, noting court records showed McDermid owed more than $15,000.

McDermid replied that he owed $14,000, with Ms Shorter saying he paid $175 a week toward the debt.

However, Mr Schubert said records show McDermid made only four payments of $175 in the past four years.

"I don't accept he is making regular payments. They have ceased,” Mr Schubert said.

He then showed the online record available to the court.

Mr Schubert said McDermid had had the benefit of previous suspended jail terms.

He said although McDermid was the sole income earner for his family, he still offended.

Police found six plants and 831 grams of cannabis in a hydroponic set-up just eight months after being sentenced.

"You have effectively thumbed your nose at the court,” Mr Schubert said.

"Fines have not deterred you with $14,000 outstanding. It shows a blatant disregard of your responsibilities.”

McDermid was sentenced to a supervised probation order of 18 months. He must not use illicit substances, do counselling and programs, and cannot leave the state.



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