Lee Butler leaves Bundaberg Magistrates Court.
Lee Butler leaves Bundaberg Magistrates Court.

Dumb deal: Morphine exchange done as police watch on

EAGLE-eyed officers at Bundaberg Police Station may have been eyeing the fuel prices at the service station across the road, but their sights quickly set on two men standing beside their cars and not refuelling.

In what must have quickly become apparent to Lee Butler, his drug exchange in the Caltex service station opposite the cop shop was a dumb move that aroused the suspicions of police.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Grant Klaassen told Bundaberg Magistrates Court that at 1.45pm on Monday, August 7, police saw the two men near their parked vehicles away from the bowsers.

He said officers witnessed an exchange of items between the pair so officers went and spoke to them.

A search found a syringe with morphine on one of the men.

Snr Cnst Klaassen said Butler was found to have $60 in his pocket that was separate from his wallet which police say had been from the illegal supply of the morphine.

And when police examined Butler's mobile phone, communication between him and the other man was found. Police seized the phone.

In submission, Snr Cnst Klaassen said it was quite a serious offence and required more than a fine - rather a short jail sentence.

Lee Butler, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of supplying the dangerous drug.

Lawyer Thomas Bray said Butler was on a disability support pension after suffering a skull fracture and back problems from being struck by a vehicle when riding his bicycle.

"Prior to the accident he had an active work life," Mr Bray said.

"It was a street-level supply to someone he knew.

"He has been in Bundaberg 11 years without coming to the attention of the court."

Magistrate Belinda Merrin said morphine was a prescription drug that had "very high addictive qualities".

Ms Merrin said there had been much said in the media about the number of deaths in Australia that related to the misuse of drugs, and was a very serious problem in our communities.

She told Butler she accepted he was unlikely to come back before the court but had been supplying a drug in public.

Butler was sentenced to one month jail, immediately suspended for six months.


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