Magistrate tells drug user to choose her punishment

LIKE a spin of the dice, Jenny-Anne Nichols gambled with illicit drugs but then a Gladstone magistrate told her to choose her punishment.

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It was likely to be either a suspended jail sentence or supervised probation but despite the element of surprise, Nichols quickly told magistrate Mark Morrow she would take probation.

Nichols, 38, pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to drug possession on March 23; and contravening a police requirement.

Prosecutor Sgt Kerry Allison said Nichols was walking along a street late at night when police searched her handbag and found a small quantity of cannabis, Nichols saying personal use.

At the time she was on probation for a previous drug offence.

"She uses cannabis to help her sleep," defence lawyer Jun Pepito said, noting jail was within range although she sought a fine.

Mr Morrow said he did not tend to go backwards in sentencing and Nichols had previously tried rehabilitation and been fined for offences that went back to 1998.

"I had two cones in a bag I needed to sleep. The last few years have been hard," Nichols said.

Saying drug rehabilitation had not worked for her, Mr Morrow mused on what an appropriate sentence would be.

He reminded Nichols that cannabis was illegal and she now did not leave him many options, "probation or the other...".

"I'll take this, not the other," she said.

Mr Morrow sentenced her to two years of supervised probation that will include urine tests for drugs.

"You chose to do this (drugs) so you get to choose this," he said.



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