From well-paid job to downward spiral thanks to drug use

SCATHING in her attack on ice use in Gladstone, a court magistrate said ice and speed are causing brain damage and likened its ongoing use to cutting your leg off piece by piece.

"I can assure you people using methylamphetamine are driving their lives into the gutter. In a short period of time they are doing irreversible damage to their body and brain," magistrate Penelope Hay told convicted drug user Michael James Kemp.

"You should be very grateful for your parents' support. It is a terrible drug."

Gladstone Magistrates Court was told about how Kemp, at just 22, had lost a well-paid job, with the life of the bright young man spiralling downwards after getting hooked on crystal methylamphetamine.

Kemp, supported by his father in court, pleaded guilty to drug offences including possession of ice on May 17, found when police stopped the car he was in.

At the time Kemp was serving an 18-month probation order for a drug possession offence last September.

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Defence lawyer Juan Pepito said Kemp was a classic example of drug use.

He said Kemp had been earning between $2500 and $3000 each fortnight, became independent and left his family to move in with mates who introduced him to the drug.

Then five months later he lost his job after his employer found him with drugs.

Mr Pepito said Kemp did not engage with Probation and Parole after first appearing in court, and had no permanent home, couch surfing at friends' places.

He pleaded with the court not to jail Kemp, saying there was still a future for him.

Ms Hay said the offences could not be viewed as a one-off when looking at his criminal history.

She re-read comments made by another magistrate who sentenced Kemp last year over crystal meth, noting the stupidity of using the drug and that, while on probation, he was meant to complete substance abuse and gambling programs but did not.

Ms Hay said his agreement had been just empty words and she was skeptical of what he now said.

"Mr Kemp you are at the cross roads. You have choices. It's your life and not for anyone else to be responsible," she told him.

"There is no happiness for you in the way you have been going."

"It is up to you. At your young age you don't have to be defined by your past," she said.

When Ms Hay asked Kemp if he would voluntarily cut-off his leg bit by bit, he replied no.

Kemp was fined $500 for the probation breach and $300 for a breach of bail.

He was sentenced to four months jail, suspended for 12 months while he is strictly supervised by Probation and Parole.



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