Pedalling, but not a peddler

LISMORE artist and muso Jonathan Halbish was stopped by police on his bicycle early on Boxing Day and they found LSD pills, cannabis, and a dagger.

Halbish, 33, was fined $650 andgiven a stern warning yesterday by Lismore Local Court magistrate Robyn Denes about wasting his money on drugs.

He pleaded guilty to being in possession of cannabis; six LSD pills; a brown powder substance; and a dagger, at 2.50am on Boxing Day in Keen Street. Police stopped and searched the cyclist while investigating another matter in the street.

Defence lawyer Amy Barker said the small dagger had been a purchase from the $2 shop and essentially a paperweight. She said her client was a talented musician and a well-loved member of an artistic collective in Lismore where he also exhibited.

Ms Denes said if Halbish chose to waste his money on drugs it was his decision and, although it may be part of the artistic community, government legislation did not distinguish between the arts and drugs with such drugs illegal.

The magistrate said she could not physically stop him and it would be naive for her to think drugs were not being used within the artistic community, but drugs like LSD, cannabis and amphetamines were against the law.

Ms Denes also noted the artist/musician had spent time in police cells following his arrest.

“Yes eight or nine days,” Halbish said.

Ms Denes reminded the artist if he ever wanted to travel overseas a drug conviction could affect his ability to travel.

She said drug use would also become a very expensive habit if he continued to be charged and kept coming back to court.

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