Social work trainee jailed for dealing methamphetamine, BZP

A Kaitangata mother of two has been sentenced to two years and eight months in jail for dealing methamphetamine and BZP in Invercargill and Balclutha late last year and early this year.

Sentencing her in the Dunedin District Court yesterday, Judge Stephen O'Driscoll said he found it "somewhat ironic" Kimberley Jane Owen (31) was learning to be a social worker at the time she was feeding people in her community a highly addictive and destructive drug.

Owen pleaded guilty earlier this year to 12 charges, some representative, under the Misuse of Drugs Act related to dealing methamphetamine and BZP late last year and earlier this year.

An associate is to face trial at a later date.

The drugs were sourced from an Auckland-based supplier while Owen was studying at the Southland Institute of Technology last year.

She sold the drugs for them, and took a cut of the profits.

The drugs were sent to her home, sometimes in packages addressed to her 4-year-old son.

Crown counsel Marie Grills and Owen's lawyer, Anne Stevens, told the court they agreed a starting point of about three years in prison would be appropriate, given the amount of methamphetamine was at the lower end of the spectrum.

Owen had already spent five months in custody in prison, where she had given birth, and Mrs Stevens suggested the time already served, her client's early guilty plea, remorse, reports of good progress from her midwife and social worker at Christchurch Women's Prison and an offer of a good home could lead to a reduction in the starting point where the court could consider home detention as a sentence.

Judge O'Driscoll took a starting point of three years and eight months. From there, he reduced the sentence by a year for Owen's early guilty plea, her remorse and her personal circumstances, which, he said, appeared to show she was trying to make something of her life.

"Miss Owen, you have spent your time in prison constructively so far, and you need to continue to do so and make sure when you are released from prison you give up the drugs completely. They will get you nowhere in life, particularly methamphetamine."

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