Bench sets the mark

MAGISTRATE Jeff Linden does not think much of Splendour in the Grass, and he made his views clear yesterday questioning whether the event should be allowed at all.

He made the comments in Byron Bay Local Court while dealing with more than 100 charges, mostly for drug possession, made at the music festival this month.

“I'm not going to ad nauseam repeat what I have been saying all day because I'm beginning to get weary,” he said.

“I just wonder about this festival, whether it should ever be allowed given the amount of drugs that it has brought in.”

When the first case in more than 100 was presented to Mr Linden for sentence - Martin Charles Rawlinson, 38, who was caught with four ecstasy tablets - he used it to decide how all similar cases would be dealt with.

“We've got to set a benchmark and I'm sure there is going to be many of these, so what I do to one I'm going to have to do to all of these,” he said of first-time offenders.

He subsequently recorded no conviction under a Section 10 bond with 12 months good behaviour for this and similar cases that came before him.

As Mr Linden heard the numerous drug offence matters he also questioned the safety of illicit drugs.

“It is unbelievable that anyone would believe that what they are given is what they are told,” he said.

When Brendan John Gattling, 21, of Brisbane, faced Mr Linden on two counts of drug possession his solicitor said it was only the second time the cafe manager had ever planned to take ecstasy.

“What he believed to be ecstasy,” Mr Linden said.

“It could have been Disprin or arsenic.”



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