Drug dealer puts jail time to good use

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 09:40 31/07/2014

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A chronic methamphetamine user and dealer has been given a reduced sentence because of the extraordinary work and study he has done in prison.

The sentencing at the Christchurch District Court heard the list of 26-year-old Johnny Cox's accomplishments during 13 months behind bars on remand.

Cox had been a meth user for seven years until his two arrests in June last year, the court heard. He was caught with the class A drug in Dunedin and then caught again after being involved in the drug scene in Christchurch soon after while on bail.

He was dealing in drugs to finance his own habit, but the Crown accepted there was no evidence of any significant financial gain.

Judge Jane Farish said the drug might have given him a bit of rush when he began using it, but at the time of his arrest he was using increasing amounts to get any euphoric effects at all.

"These drugs are like that," she said.

The judge said Cox had been a regular supplier, over a reasonable period, and had supplied enough methamphetamine that it had the potential to cause harm.

He had admitted charges of offering to supply methamphetamine, supplying it, and possession of it for supply.

The police said their investigations showed he was involved with 40 grams of the drug - a significant quantity.

Defence counsel Tony Garrett said Cox had put his time in jail on remand to good use.

The court was told he worked as a painter in prison, had completed two alcohol and drug programmes, a first aid certificate course, a forklift driving course, an engineering course, and a gambling addiction course.

Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment was passing three drug tests that showed no sign of any use, he said.

Judge Farish reduced the sentence for Cox's guilty pleas and the rehabilitation steps he had taken, and jailed him for two years nine months.

She told him the Parole Board might want him to do more drug and alcohol counselling before his release, but because of the long period on remand he would be eligible to apply for release soon.

As he was taken to the cells, Cox gave a cheery wave to his family, who had come to the session in force to support him.

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