Nimbin ecstasy dealer jailed

NIMBIN ecstasy dealer Benjamin Nakia Hewson was busted in a Nimbin street with 73 ecstasy pills stashed beneath his car’s front seat.

Hewson, 29, at first denied being the owner of the BMW he had been standing beside, instead telling two Nimbin police officers on July 11 last year his vehicle was ‘a crappy old Corolla’.

The BMW was searched and the drugs discovered with the car registered in Hewson’s name.

In the Lismore District Court yesterday, Hewson was jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to having the drug for the purpose of supply, and was ordered by Judge James Black to serve at least nine months before being eligible for parole.

Defence counsel Simon Priestly said his client had a difficult upbringing and suffered a diagnosed serious grief issue over the death of his father.

Mr Priestly said his client’s drug problem seemed to come from psychological problems where he had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder as a result of childhood issues.

The barrister said the ‘trigger’ to his client’s drug use was the grief reaction to his father’s death and that he ‘started using drugs to the point where he needs to sell them to continue using’.

In arguing for some leniency, Mr Priestly was unsuccessful in his application that Judge Black consider placing his client on a Section 11adjournment, where his client would be sentenced at a later date to allow his ongoing behaviour during that time to then be assessed.

“He is a man who did learn a lesson on the first occasion (drug offence), but a series of events caused his psychological difficulties to come back to the fore and he kept going until someone caught him,” Mr Priestly said.

Judge Black said ecstasy was a serious problem in the community and there were many legal authorities stating a jail sentence was called for in offences of its supply. He refused the Section 11 application.

His Honour said Hewson had previous drug convictions and received a suspended jail sentence in 2005.

He said in 2008 Hewson had been before a Queensland court in Southport on a charge of being in possession of a dangerous drug.

Noting the legal argument put by Mr Priestly, Judge Black said Hewson had some significant disadvantages in his background and had experienced some serious personal loss that had been identified as being ‘a trigger factor’ to his drug issues.

Judge Black said the reality was that Hewson was ‘no stranger’ to the court system with regard to drug matters and the ecstasy offence called for a jail term.

Because of Hewson’s early guilty plea, Judge Black said he would reduce the main sentence from 24 months to 18 months and he imposed a non-parole period of nine months.

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