James William Arthur Watt, 33, of Andergrove was sentenced in the Supreme Court in Mackay for drug trafficking.
James William Arthur Watt, 33, of Andergrove was sentenced in the Supreme Court in Mackay for drug trafficking. Facebook

Miner turned ice dealer's tearful goodbye before jail

AN Andergrove miner turned ice dealer burst into tears in his father's arms during an emotional farewell in the Supreme Court in Mackay.

James William Arthur Watt was jailed for trafficking large amounts of the drug ice, as well as cocaine and cannabis.

The court was told undercover police surveillance recorded Watt selling up to 70g of ice at a time for tens of thousands of dollars between March 19 and October 15, 2015. However, the 33-year-old addict's profit went up in smoke.

Watt pleaded guilty before Justice David North on Thursday to trafficking dangerous drugs.

Defence barrister Stephen Byrne said Watt's life had "spiralled out of control" in late 2014 and prior to that he had a clean criminal record.

Mr Byrne said Watt lost his job as a machine operator at Hail Creek Mine in 2014, split up with his partner and lost his home.

Watt's casual ice use escalated, and turned into dealing to support his addiction.

Crown prosecutor Jacob Robson told the court Watt was soon buying an ounce of ice for $9000 to sell to between 20-30 customers over about two days, including "street-level dealers".

Watt, who was a chef for 10 years before breaking into mining, would also brag to undercover officers about being able to provide wholesale quantities of drugs, the court was told this week.

 

James William Arthur Watt faced the Supreme Court in Mackay.
James William Arthur Watt faced the Supreme Court in Mackay. Facebook

Mr Robson, who described the defendant as "above a mere street level dealer", said if a customer owed Watt money he could "be seen to be quite forceful", making "implied threats".

He also said Watt's charge was aggravated because he was on bail for drug possession.

Watt had already spent 233 days in jail for breach of bail relating to a previous charge.

Mr Byrne said Watt had been using about 10 points (1 gram) of ice each week and had started selling to support his habit.

Allowing "drugs to take over his life", Watt had nothing to show for it, Mr Byrne said. He was $30,000 in debt and "considering declaring bankruptcy".

Mr Byrne also said Watt had been shot in the right elbow near the end of 2015 in an incident that was "not drug related". This left him with about "75% use of his right arm".

Additionally, Mr Byrne said Watt had completed employment training in custody.

Justice North described Watt as a "productive, law-abiding member of society" before he lost his job in an economic downturn and fell into drug use.

He took into account Watt's co-operation, early guilty plea and that he hadn't been "enriching himself", but said his sentence needed to deter others and protect the community.

Watt was sentenced to five years jail, but considering time served and his early plea, will be eligible for parole on January 23, 2018.



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