Jail for meth lab near playground

A man who ran a clandestine drugs laboratory near a children's playground in Casebrook has been jailed.

Peter John Gason, 41, was arrested after a police raid on a house in Larch Pl in September 2011, where they found the drugs laboratory.

At the Christchurch District Court sentencing, Judge Raoul Neave told Gason that drugs had already ruined much of his life. 

Police said children at a neighbouring playground could have been in danger from the explosive risks involved with producing the drug.

Those comments were echoed by Judge Neave who said manufacturing the drug was "a highly risky enterprise" and other clandestine laboratories had blown up. 

Defence counsel Tony Greig said Gason had enjoyed methamphetamine and it had taken hold of him after he first tried it.

Those using the drug either had to resort to crime to pay for it, or to make it, and Gason had opted to make it.

He saw his drug use as harming no-one but himself.

Judge Neave said the effects on the user were dramatic and its manufacture presented risks of explosion and produced toxic chemicals.

"Those affected by it have displayed unpredictable, bizarre, and violent behaviour to the detriment of the whole community."

He increased Gason's sentence for his bad record of drug offending, but reduced it for his willingness to undergo treatment and for his guilty pleas to charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of the necessary chemicals and equipment.

He imposed a three year, eleven month jail term and said he hoped that treatment would be available for him in prison.

Gason may be due for release before long, because he has spent so much time in custody on remand.

The Press