Ice dealer uses daughter as excuse to escape jail, again

HISTORY repeated in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday when a convicted drug seller used his daughter - for the third time - as the reason why he should stay out of jail.

However, former Mackay resident Merv Raymond Stewart's plea for a chance to reconnect with his four-year-old child did not stop Justice Ian Dearden ordering him to serve six months of a two-year jail term.

On the day he was due to be released for parole, Stewart pleaded guilty to 17 charges for possessing, selling and trafficking ice and cannabis.

The offences happened in Goondiwindi while the 23-year-old was serving a suspended sentence for disqualified driving and before he was jailed for breaching a suspended sentence by again driving while disqualified.

Crown prosecutor Shelley Francis told the court Stewart admitted selling and trafficking methamphetamine and cannabis when police found a small amount of both drugs in his home.

Ms Francis said the early guilty plea and admissions were justification for a reduced sentence.

Barrister Collin Reid said his client had a difficult upbringing but was changing his life with the support of his partner who had helped him stop drinking, smoking and abusing drugs.

Mr Reid said Stewart was desperate to start making contact with his daughter whose mother was stabbed to death in 2012.

Mr Reid said his client hoped to one day be able to care for the little girl who is living in foster care in North Queensland.

Stewart used the same excuses to win freedom when he faced court on different disqualified driving charges in 2013 and in October 2012.

"Stewart told Magistrate Damien Dwyer he was working hard to be a father to his daughter," The Daily Mercury reported in January, 2013.

Justice Dearden said Stewart's offences were made even more "foolish" by the fact that he was helping himself to some of the drugs he was supposed to be selling to others.

"Trafficking drugs is very serious," he said.

"You are foolish to get yourself involved.

"Even though you didn't make much out of it in terms of money or skimming - you are part of the drug trade."

Justice Dearden said Stewart had an "appalling traffic history for one so young" and that the more time he spent breaking the road rules and using drugs meant he would have less time be a father to his daughter because he would be spending longer in jail.

Justice Dearden sentenced Stewart to concurrent terms of two years, 18 months and three months and set a parole date of May 24, when the unserved portion of the term will be suspended for four years.


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