A young Dunlop man found near Fiction nightclub with a bumbag full of cocaine and cash risked his future for $650, a magistrate told him during sentencing at the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Ryan Plunkett, 24, plead guilty to trafficking cocaine.
Upon hearing Plunkett would have made $650 from the sale of the bags, Magistrate Louise Taylor said "it's not much money is it? 650 bucks to potentially go to jail and ruin your life".
Police said Plunkett was unsteady on his feet, belligerent and abusive when they approached him on December 19 just after midnight.
When they asked the "intoxicated and disorderly" man for ID during a routine patrol in the city, police immediately noticed he had lots of loose banknotes in his Harley Davidson bumbag.
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After arresting Plunkett, police found slip bags containing eight grams of a substance including cocaine, a cutting agent and caffeine, worth an estimated $3900.
In an interview with police later that day, Plunkett said he had been drinking throughout the day before going to Fiction nightclub at 10pm.
He met up with a mutual acquaintance at 11pm, who gave him 13 small bags and told him to sell them for $300 each with a profit of $50 per bag for him.
Plunkett said he recalls knocking over a scooter, fighting with a group of men and then being approached by police but "[did] not remember much after this".
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Plunkett said he had not sold any of the bags before being arrested, and the cash in his bag was from selling his dirt bike.
"He started the night with around three thousand dollars [in cash] before purchasing a number of drinks," police wrote.
During the sentencing hearing, Ms Taylor said street dealers like Plunkett were being used.
"The people at the top aren't prepared to put themselves at risk to sell small deal bags in nightclubs ... because they're cowards," she said.
"People like [Plunkett] are essential to people at the top."
Get on with your life and never come back.- Magistrate Louise Taylor
Ms Taylor told Plunkett it was "such a shame" he had risked his future by dealing.
"Look at $650 and then look at the rest of your life ... [there are many] good things about you. It's such a shame that you risked your future for 650 bucks, for someone else really to make the bulk of the money, not you."
Defence lawyer Cara Maynard said Plunkett's offending was largely caused by "a serious issue with alcohol".
Ms Taylor said she accepted the alcohol addiction was a factor in his offending but "getting drunk on the night doesn't mean you have 13 bags of coke in your bumbag".
Ms Maynard said her client had turned his life around, had been sober for four months, had a new relationship with a "very positive" person, had cut bad influences out of his life and had no relevant previous criminal history.
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He was hoping to take a new job in NSW, where he would be alcohol and drug tested to help continue his sobriety and stay away from bad influences.
Ms Taylor accepted evidence - including references from Plunkett's employer, family and corrections - supporting this claim and said the 24-year-old was likely already rehabilitated.
"[I believe] the community no longer requires protection from him," Ms Taylor said.
She sentenced Plunkett to an 18-month good behaviour order and a suspended six-month jail sentence.
"Get on with your life and never come back [to court]," Ms Taylor said.
"If you fall off the wagon and you start making poor decisions again ... [you may be imprisoned].
"You want to go to jail? We can accommodate you; we're here everyday."
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