Nathan Baggaley and his fiancée leaving Brisbane Supreme Court.
Nathan Baggaley and his fiancée leaving Brisbane Supreme Court.

Olympian walks away on drug charges

FALLEN Olympic medal-winning kayaker Nathan Baggaley was fighting steroid allegations when he fell into the drug world.

The Byron Bay-raised 36-year-old was ordering pill parts for a drug enterprise in return for lucrative payments.

While he was on bail for that, he began "stepping into the shoes of his brother" to manufacture and sell 1500 ecstasy tablets.

Baggaley, who was released from a NSW jail in November after serving four years of a 6.5-year sentence for manufacturing and supplying ecstasy for his brother Dru, is now facing leftover Queensland charges.

Flanked by his parents and fiancée, he pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday to possessing pill press parts and ecstasy at Mermaid Waters in 2007.

The pill press was used to turn powder into ecstasy pills.

Baggaley walked free from court on a 12-month suspended jail sentence.

Crown prosecutor Dennis Kinsella said authorities intercepted a parcel, addressed to Baggaley's flatmate, with pill press parts in Sydney.

He said police organised a controlled delivery and then executed a search warrant which netted 84 ecstasy tablets in various colours.

Mr Kinsella said Baggaley had ordered pill press parts three previous times and received $6000 in return.

He said the 84 pills found at the Gold Coast home had 4.861g of pure ecstasy which equated to pill purity between 13% and 25%.

Baggaley was a triple world champion and dual Olympic silver medal kayaker.

He was also a Gold Coast surf-ski paddle champion.

He volunteered at Northcliffe Surf Lifesaving Club, patrolling beaches once a month, for 15 years.

The Australian Institute of Sport named Baggaley Athlete of the Year in 2004.

Defence barrister Michael Byrne said his client was an elite sportsman who represented Australia at kayaking for nine years.

He said Baggaley was now completing fitness and personal training courses so he could start his own business in strengthening and conditioning clients for sport.

Mr Byrne said his client was lured into the illegal activities because he was fighting a suspension from his kayaking team amid allegations of steroid use.

"He fell into the behaviour because of what he perceived was an unjust suspension," he said.

"He was fighting the suspension, he racked up legal expenses.

"His brother, who was the subject of the trafficking, offered him a way out.

"Having been devoid of the structure he had, he took advantage of the offer."

Justice Peter Lyons said Baggaley's parents saw his life become "chaotic" after he lost the structure of his elite sporting regime.

He said Baggaley became a "target in prison" because of his stardom.

"You had been a very high achiever," he said.

"That can only occur when someone shows great commitment and discipline over a long time."

Baggaley did not speak to media outside court.



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