Sydney socialite Kirsty Dayment jailed for cocaine and ecstasy dealing
Disgraced Sydney socialite Kirsty Dayment has been sentenced to at least three years and three months in an Australian jail for the large-scale supply of cocaine and ecstasy from her unit in Coogee in Sydney's eastern suburbs.
Dayment, 35, did not react as the maximum sentence of 5 and a half years was handed down in court on Thursday.
Her former boyfriend Nicholas Riganias, 31, was sentenced to a maximum of eight years with a non-parole period of 4 and a half years.
Judge Sarah Huggett said both Dayment and Riganias "move in circles where the recreational use of prohibited drugs appeared to be the norm" and both used the drugs to varying degrees. This social set provided them with a ready customer base to sell illicit drugs for profit.
Huggett said Dayment played "an active and lead role in the supply of prohibited drugs for financial gain" and had her own customers apart from Riganias. She maintained a "drug ledger" on her mobile phone.
Police stormed Riganias' and Dayment's apartment in July 2015 after a six-month investigation into drug supply in the eastern suburbs.
Riganias pleaded guilty to supplying 1.36 kilograms of MDMA (ecstasy) and 88 grams of cocaine as well as dealing with A$100,000 in the proceeds of crime and agreeing to supply a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.
Dayment pleaded guilty to supplying 85.26 grams and 1.02 grams of cocaine, possessing 0.7 grams of cocaine and knowingly taking part in the large commercial supply of MDMA.
In a letter to the court, Dayment apologised for "taking part in the supply of drugs" and took "full responsibility" for her involvement.
She said she began dealing drugs after coming out of an abusive relationship and dealing with the stress of financial pressure due to her failing business, Ambition Fashion.
"When I finally escaped I was probably at my lowest. My business was failing; I had let many of my friends down and I looked for other people who turned out to be the wrong people to fill my life," she wrote.
In the letter she included a lengthy list of "setbacks and achievements" in her life since being charged with a criminal offence.
She has closed her modelling and promotional agency as well as her retail clothing store, resulting in a loss of clients and income. She has been declared bankrupt.
She said she was unable to work as a "Santa's Little Helper" over the Christmas period or with the Starlight Foundation children's charity.
Her contract at the Royal Easter Show was torn up after her employers found out she was on bail for serious drug charges.
However, she has "rebranded" her fashion company, maintains popular social media accounts, including one with more than 10,000 followers, and has undertaken promotional work for other companies, she said. She has also completed certificates in personal training.
But Judge Huggett said that, in deciding to get involved in serious drug supply, Dayment "acted with a full appreciation with what she was doing".
During a sentencing hearing on March 4, Dayment revealed she was pregnant, but just over a month later her lawyers told the court she was no longer expecting a baby following a miscarriage on March 16.
In a letter to the court, Dayment's mother described her daughter's "miscarriage and the stress she has suffered since".
Judge Huggett said she had taken into account the "distressing and traumatic event" in sentencing.
Judge Huggett said Riganias used prescription drugs, illicit drugs and alcohol to deal with the "extreme, sudden and severe pain" caused by the relatively rare illness trigeminal neuralgia, with which he was diagnosed at the age of 18.
Part of his motivation for drug dealing was to find A$45,000 to fund stem cell therapy for the condition. He has also been diagnosed with depression and substance use disorder.
Judge Huggett said that, while "one can sympathise with him ... that does not excuse his offending but it does assist to understand it and to a limited extent reduce his moral culpability".
She took into account that he had no prior criminal record, has formed a Narcotics Anonymous group in Long Bay Correctional Centre and has made a "genuine apology" for his actions.
He said being charged and imprisoned had been a "wake-up call" and Judge Huggett said his prospects of rehabilitation were good, especially if he attended drug rehabilitation on his release.
Both Riganias and Dayment faced a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
They both received a 25 per cent discount for pleading guilty in the Local Court while Riganias got a further 5 per cent discount for assisting authorities.
Dayment was taken into custody last week ahead of her sentence. She will be eligible for parole on May 4, 2020.
With time served, Riganias will be eligible for parole on January 30, 2020.
- Sydney Morning Herald