Lismore Court House in Zadoc Street.
Lismore Court House in Zadoc Street. Marc Stapelberg

JAILED: Kyogle mother and son sentenced over ice dealing

A KYOGLE mother and son have been jailed for two years and 18 months respectively for their involvement in wholesale "bulk buys" of the drug ice to fund their out of control addiction.

The Lismore District Court heard that Nicola New, 44, and son Richard John Matthews, 23, had substantially rehabilitated the destructive habit and shown genuine remorse since their arrest last year, but their good intentions weren't sufficient to spare them jail time.

Judge Laura Wells said the co-offenders were involved in a "considerable supply activity of this drug which wreaks a great deal of havoc on people in the community... particularly rural communities".

She said the court had to deal with crimes of "violence, sexual assault, and other drug offences" on a regular basis because of ice addiction.

"These two offenders have contributed to that problem in society," she said. "The only appropriate sentence is of imprisonment."

New, Matthews, and Matthews' father and New's former partner Thomas John Kedwell, also known as John Matthews, were involved in arranging wholesale purchases of mainly between 14-28g of the drug on several occasions between May and August last year from Queensland.

During sentencing submissions yesterday both offenders told the court they bought the drug for personal use, but they also sold to others to fund their own habit.

The bulk buys were pre-arranged and negotiated with all parties involved but it was Kedwell who was the "prime mover" in the enterprise assisted by New and Matthews who provided transport and cash on occasions.

Police raided their Roseberry properties north of Kyogle on September 2 last year after five months of surveillance and they were charged with supplying an indictable quantity of the drug.

In sentencing on Wednesday, Judge Wells said the trio "assisted not to only themselves but other drug uses to obtain these drugs at a reduced rate".

"The role generally they engaged in could be described as facilitators of supply... a step or two up from those user dealers at street level or the bottom of the chain."

She said their enterprise was "not particularly sophisticated" but they were "relatively organised and consistent" with their purchases over the five month period.

"It is estimated that the dollar value of the amount brought into the state they had in their possession came to about $55,000... that is for the three of them."

Giving evidence on Tuesday, Matthews estimated that about half of of that was for personal use; New was unclear.

Judge Wells said the pair had made "considerable proactive efforts" to rehabilitate themselves of their "longstanding" drug problems since their arrest, noted many drug offenders did not take that level of responsibility or commitment to turn away from the drug lifestyle.

In her opinion, both had "better than average prospects of rehabilitation".

Matthews was in a stable relationship and had a new child of his own to support, as well as two step children. By all accounts the relationship had a "very positive effect upon him" as well as his engagement in employment and the community.

New, a mother of two teens and a dependent husband, had a "forced detoxification" in custody last year which helped her remain free of drugs since.

She had shown "insight into her offending" and identified her drug use and mental health as contributing factors, Judge Wells noted.

"That is a great credit to them and I also note they are inspired by the need to care for their children in relation to the efforts they have made," she said.

However, she said: "The court in relation to serious offences such as the offence each of them faces must pay due regard to ensure they are punished and the penalties deter not only them but other people."

New was sentenced to a non-parole period of two years in jail.

The court was more lenient with Matthews who had been exposed to a background where these sorts of activities are normalised" and faced the "pressure of loyalty to both his parents in this enterprise".

He was sentenced to a non-parole period of 18 months' jail.

It was a sad day for their family members, several who wept openly as Judge Laura Wells delivered her sentences.

New will be eligible for parole on August 27, 2019 taking into account time served.

Matthews will be eligible for release on March 4, 2019.

Kedwell faces sentencing in the Lismore District Court on February 23 next year.



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