Hamilton man admits selling illegal highs

Last updated 11:28 25/06/2014
Jason Graeme McConnochi
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GUILTY PLEA: Jason Graeme McConnochi.
Nikita Awhina Pender
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FIRST TO BE CONVICTED: Nikita Awhina Pender

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A Hamilton man has joined his partner in admitting selling psychoactive substances from a city motel.

At his first appearance in May, Jason Graeme McConnochie, 31, pleaded not guilty in the Hamilton District Court on a charge of selling a prohibited substance, while his partner Nikita Awhina Pender, 19, pleaded guilty to the same charge.

However, McConnochie reversed his plea after appearing in court last week.

Pender became the first person to be convicted for selling the substance under amended psychoactive substance legislation brought into force the same month.

Police found McConnochie and Pender in possession of nearly 200 packets of psychoactive substances and hundreds of dollars in cash between May 7 and 8, just one day after the new law kicked in.

The arrests were made after police received a tip-off that the pair were selling the substances from the motel.

In total, 196 packets of unsold product and $680 cash were found the court heard.

It became illegal to sell, supply or possess psychoactive substances, including synthetic cannabis, under the Psychoactive Substances Amendment Bill, which was passed under urgency in Parliament on May 8.

It banned 41 products given interim approval under legislation passed last year.

McConnochie will be sentenced in August.

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