'First ever' puff on joint ends in court

A MELBOURNE man holidaying in Nimbin for the Mardi Grass festival was charged with driving with an illicit drug in his blood the day after his "very first smoke of marijuana", a court has heard.

"He was curious," the man's solicitor Lochsley Thomson explained in Lismore Local Court today.

"He was in Nimbin... he thought he'd give it a go... the old 'life is too short' adage."

But 53 year-old Garry Fletcher's adventurous weekend took a turn for the worse when he was waived down by police at Blue Knob the morning after his experimental puff.

To his dismay, the saliva test indicated Fletcher had an illicit drug, cannabis, in his system.

At his own expense Fletcher returned from Victoria this week to appear in court over the offence.

He pleaded guilty to the charge but his solicitor Mr Thomson pleaded with Magistrate David Heilpern for a lenient sentence.

"He thought he'd give it a go... (but) he won't be trying it any time in the future," Mr Thomson told the court.

Magistrate Heilpern acknowledged Fletcher's responsibility in travelling from Melbourne for the sentencing and his employment of a private legal counsel at considerable expense.

He also said the offending was toward the "lowest end of the criminal scale".

Fletcher was convicted but granted a section 10 good behaviour bond with no conviction recorded.

He will keep his licence, but Nimbin won't be getting the benefit of his tourist dollars again.



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