A judge has dismissed giving anything less than jail time for a former bikie gang president who turned to trafficking and using ice every day to "numb his emotions" after his former partner committed suicide.
Brett Matthew French, 52, fronted sentencing in the ACT Supreme Court on Friday after pleading guilty to trafficking methylamphetamine.
The court heard that on January 4 this year, police raided French's property in Higgins and found him and three other men, whom police did not charge, in a backyard shed.
As well as nearly 200 grams of the drug, police found CCTV installed across the premises feeding into a screen inside the shed.
They also found cutting agents, chemicals, scales, clip-seal bags, gloves and French's phone that showed he was involved in drug supply since late December last year.
His crime meant he had breached three good behaviour orders for previous offending, which included two driving while influenced by drugs and one of possessing ice at the same Higgins premises.
The court heard his criminal history, which includes drug and firearms offences, dates back to 2009 in which he had received good behaviour orders and/or fines.
In her preliminary remarks, Chief Justice Helen Murrell rejected the defence lawyer's submission that a suspended sentence or community-based order were options.
"Such orders would fail to provide an adequate deterrent to the offender and fail to adequately protect the community against drug trafficking," Chief Justice Murrell said.
"Despite his mature years, the offender has not demonstrated a strong motivation to rehabilitate.
"On two occasions he has attempted, he has not succeeded."
She said if he was removed from negative associations and addressed his emotional issues, conditions may improve.
Chief Justice Murrell described his operation as "not unsophisticated".
"The evidence does not support that he was significantly up the distribution hierarchy," she said.
"On other hand, he was not at the bottom end."
The court heard French did not make large profits from his trafficking. Instead, he used it to fund his own addiction and to pay everyday living expenses.
He had told the author of a pre-sentence report he was president of an outlaw motorcycle gang during his membership in 2004-10 and he was burnt out after juggling that role with full-time work as a rubbish collection driver.
He also told the author, who said French was at a high risk of reoffending, that he felt relieved when police searched his premises and said "it was a blessing in disguise".
Giving evidence via video link on Friday, French said since his partner's suicide in the backyard of their premises in February 2020, he had been increasing his use of ice to about 1gm a day.
"I started using more to numb the thought and the pain," he said.
"I just want to get out and try to do normal things. I've learnt that I miss my family, I miss my kids."
French said he was willing to follow directions to be drug-free and that he had employment in landscaping and accommodation lined up after release.
The court heard he had sought counselling while in custody and a psychologist said he was "experiencing grief since ceasing his substance abuse, which was previously delaying his emotional processing of his partner's death".
Chief Justice Murrell indicated she would sentence him to two years' jail with a non-parole period of 13 months.
The sentence would be backdated to January 4 this year when he was arrested.
She adjourned her decision after French requested he be assessed for drug and alcohol sentencing.
However, because the relevant personnel were not available to assess him due to Canberra's seven-day Covid lockdown in place, she adjourned the sentencing for two weeks to allow assessment.
The maximum penalty for the offence is 10 years' jail, a $160,000 fine, or both.
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