ACT News

Alleged Canberra drug importer facing life imprisonment

A Canberra man who allegedly had commercial quantities of drugs delivered right to his front door is facing a maximum of life imprisonment.

Christopher Walter Thorn, 38, was caught out by authorities after Customs intercepted a large quantity of the drug GBL, similar to party drug GHB, on the way to his address in Phillip. 

More than five litres of GBL was replaced with an inert substance, and sent on to Thorn. 

The package was ordered using his real name and address, and Thorn allegedly signed for it when it arrived. 

Police tracked the parcel, searching his home, and finding $38,000 cash inside the home.

The discovery of the cash almost made Thorn's girlfriend, a public servant, faint from surprise, a court heard.


Two other shipments seized by Customs allegedly contained two litres and 25 litres of GBL respectively, and a list of other consignment numbers was also found.

The amount of drugs seized was far above what the law considers to be a commercial quantitiy, which is one litre. 

The charges were described in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday as "extremely serious".

Thorn is facing maximum penalties of life imprisonment for each of the two charges before the court.

He may also be charged over eight clip seal bags suspected to contain ice, which were found in his home.

Commonwealth prosecutor Katrina Musgrove told the court that Thorn had admitted to using GBL for 12 years to police. 

He told police he had no idea it was a border controlled drug. 

Ms Musgrove opposed Thorn's release on bail, arguing his drug addiction meant he was likely to reoffend, and that the seriousness of the crimes and strength of the case made him a flight risk.

Thorn was unemployed and relied on the disability support pension, the court heard. 

But Thorn's Legal Aid lawyer Michael Toole said his client would report to police daily, provide a surety, and submit himself to supervision and urine tests. 

He acknowledged the offences were serious, but said: 

"It's clear that it's not a professional endeavour that Mr Thorn has been engaged in."

"It wasn't extremely well executed, it would seem."

But Magistrate Peter Dingwall deemed Thorn to be a flight risk and a risk of reoffending and denied him bail. 

The case will reappear early next month.