'Hid drugs and needle': Gladstone prisoner busted in squat

LATE to appear before court, Jamen Karl Hoffmann was not too late to avoid an overnight police cell.

A court warrant ended in his prompt arrest outside Gladstone Courthouse when he arrived just after 4pm that same afternoon.

Hoffmann, 40, after his night in the watch house was allowed morning outdoor exercise until police monitoring CCTV saw his unusual squatting manoeuvres.

He was then busted for drug possession.

Police prosecutor Gavin Reece told Gladstone magistrate Jeffrey Clarke that watch house officers saw Hoffmann in the exercise yard with another prisoner at 8.40am Friday and saw him stand up, reach behind toward his anal area, sit down and place something beneath himself before again slightly squatting and reaching for something under him.

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Curious officers went to him and Hoffmann flicked an empty clip seal bag at them, saying he had a needle to declare.

An uncapped syringe and needle was found and 0.9 grams of cannabis.

"He says he hid drugs and the needle in the lining of his pants. He was stripped, searched, nothing else was found,"Mr Reece said.

"He had the drugs and syringe when he went into police custody," asked Mr Clarke.

"Wouldn't there have been a search of him when taken into custody."

Hoffmann pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and the needle/syringe at the watch house on May 20; possession of cannabis on February 23; and failing to surrender to the court on May 19.

In the February drug offence Mr Reece said Hoffmann had been the driver of a car police stopped and from which a strong smell of cannabis emanated. A search found 8grams of cannabis in an envelope.

When defence lawyer Jun Pepito said the father of four was on a disability pension, Mr Clarke questioned how Hoffmann could afford to buy drugs when on government benefits.

No answer was given and Mr Pepito explained that although he was the driver of the car at the time, the cannabis had not been his but Hoffmann did accept responsibility.

Looking at his long criminal history Mr Clarke told Hoffmann: "your drug use has been unrelenting, a significant drug history since 1997".

Mr Clarke called it serious offending and sentenced Hoffmann, who looked surprised, to three months jail.

He must serve four weeks and will be released on parole on June 20.



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