Vern Fitzgerald pleaded guilty to five charges in the Gatton Magistrates Court today.
Vern Fitzgerald pleaded guilty to five charges in the Gatton Magistrates Court today. Facebook

In arm lock, half-naked and strip searched: Man's drug bust

A MAN who stashed syringes and needles in his underwear had returned to drugs after his father committed suicide last year.

Representing himself in the Gatton Magistrates Court on Monday, Vern Fitzgerald, 36, pleaded guilty to three drug-related offences, obstructing a police officer, and failing to engage with a court order.

Fitzgerald declined to speak with a lawyer before facing court, telling Magistrate Damien Carroll he wanted the matter dealt with quickly.

Police had intercepted a car during patrols on March 22 in Forest Hill, they found a woman driving the car, a child in the back seat and Fitzgerald in the passenger seat.

Police Prosecutor Molinaro told the court police found a 'black bum bag' containing a set of scales and empty bag in the foot-well of the front passenger seat which Fitzgerald admitted was his.

Fitzgerald was then subjected to a drug search at the back of the car.

"He has made a movement with respect to pulling his pants and underpants away from his person in a quick fashion," Sgt Molinaro said.

Sgt Molinaro said police spotted items in Fitzgerald's underwear when he became agitated and hostile and attempted to move away from police so police went to restrain him.

"(He) has pulled out two used syringes and needles and a bag containing clipseal bags and threw them on the ground saying 'that's all I've got'," Sgt Molinaro said.

"He then became involved in a struggle with police."

Fitzgerald told Mr Carroll he was strip-searched at the side of the road.

"When I went to hand the police what I had... I don't know if they took that as a violent move... but that's how I ended up in an arm lock," Fitzgerald said.

"I was on the ground, half naked in the mud and I'm somehow obstructing police."

He told Mr Carroll he knew he had a big drug history.

"My dad committed suicide at the end of last year and I did return to drug-using pretty badly," Fitzgerald said.

Mr Carroll told Fitzgerald he advised against the plea of guilty on the obstructing a police officer charge.

"From what you've told me, you may well have a defence to the obstruct charge and I've advised you to plead not guilty but you've told me you still want to plead guilty," Mr Carroll said.

Fitzgerald was fined $2500 and ordered to serve 20 days in jail if he should fail to pay the fine within 18 months.



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