Wellington man used cocaine for eating disorder

A Wellington IT consultant with a fast-food addiction has been discharged without conviction for importing a small amount of cocaine.

Jeremy James Burtenshaw, 33, was introduced to cocaine in Amsterdam and discovered the drug suppressed his appetite, helping with his eating disorder and the associated health problems, a judge in Wellington District Court said today.

Judge John Walker discharged Burtenshaw without conviction on charges of importing 1g of cocaine and possessing 0.5g of the drug at his Hataitai home in February.

Burtenshaw has to pay $3000 towards the cost of the prosecution.

He pleaded guilty to both charges.

Judge Walker found that the consequences of a conviction - "very likely" dismissal from Burtenshaw's job with a telecommunications company with government contracts - was out of all proportion to the seriousness of the offence.

While overseas Burtenshaw had been given details of an internet site from which to buy cocaine.

Communication with the site is made so that authorities cannot trace the whereabouts of either party or how payment is made, the judge said.

Burtenshaw was caught when an envelope addressed to him was intercepted at Auckland Mail Centre.

There was no suggestion the drug was for anything other than Burtenshaw's own use.

But the judge refused to suppress Burtenshaw's name.

He said it would be wrong for the court to be complicit in hiding the offending from the employer who had a right to know that an employee was a drug user.

The Dominion Post