She ran a meth lab in her shed, but walked free from court

A HATTON Vale woman who along with her partner was running a meth lab in a shed on her mother's property has walked free from court.

The court once again heard the same tried and tested story in that the woman's offending only occurred due to her drug addiction.

But the woman now claims she is drug free - despite the court hearing she had struggled with drug addiction for the past 12 years.

Sarah Louise Melchoir, 30, pleaded guilty on Thursday in Ipswich District Court to producing and possessing a dangerous drug.

She also pleaded guilty to possessing drug paraphernalia and failing to properly dispose of hypodermic needles.

Crown prosecutor Clare Kelly told the court Melchoir came to the attention of police through Operation Juliet Spire.

She said officers raided her mother's property in February, 2015.

"Officers found a large number of items associated with the production of methamphetamine, including glassware and a large amount of chemicals," she said.

"Police located a large number of receipts on her bedroom for chemicals.

"CCTV footage from several Masters stores were checked and Melchoir was identified as the person who purchased the chemicals."

Ms Kelly said Melchoir's fingerprints were found on numerous items inside the shed which were used in the production of meth.

She said traces of meth were also found on several items and Melchoir played an active role in the drug's production.

Defence barrister Josh Jones said Melchoir never participated in any actual cooking of the drug.

He said the Crown cannot prove otherwise to the necessary standard under law.

"There is no allegation of commerciality to her offending," he said.

"She was vulnerable and was given drugs to feed her own addiction.

"She has since removed herself from the drug community she was embedded in."

Mr Jones provided eight references to the court on Melchoir's behalf and revealed the qualified chef was also six months pregnant.

Judge Greg Koppenol sentenced Melchoir to two-and-a-half-years behind bars but ordered she be released on immediate parole.

He said this was her one opportunity despite having earlier heard it was Melchoir's eighth time before a court after being charged with a criminal offence.

"Methamphetamine has become the great scourge of our country," he said.

"It is destroying the lives of our young.

"It is the country's biggest tragedy and its biggest shame."


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