A Kaitangata woman involved in importing the drug MDMA has
avoided jail, a Dunedin judge taking the view a
community-based punishment would be a better option than
prison for Annette Webb.
In the past, the High Court had allowed importers of more
serious drugs than MDMA to be given home detention, so why
should such a sentence not be available to the defendant,
Judge Kevin Phillips said in the Dunedin District Court
Webb (43) was charged, with a Dunedin man, with importing
MDMA last August and possessing the class C drug for sale.
She originally pleaded not guilty but, in January, asked for
a sentence indication and was told she could expect a
sentence starting at two years and four months' jail.
Webb accepted the indication but public defender Campbell
Savage yesterday asked for a 20% reduction in the starting
point, to take into account the defendant's guilty plea.
He said that would take the sentence to below two years which
meant home detention could be an option.
The defendant had found an address suitable for an
electronically monitored sentence, and would be better off
continuing her rehabilitation in the community rather than in
prison, Mr Savage said. She knew a lengthy home detention
term would be difficult and a slip-up would mean prison.
While not agreeing with a 20% reduction, Crown counsel Marie
Grills said she would not oppose a lengthy term of home
detention on the basis it would not work.
The defendant was said to be willing and able to comply with
such a sentence.
Had she been convicted of such offences five or 10 years ago,
she would have gone to prison for at least two years, Judge
Phillips told Webb.
The offending was clearly pre-meditated and ''quite
blatant''. But he took into account the defendant had not
been present when the money for the drugs was transferred.
The package had come to her, she had supplied her co-offender
with his portion of the drug and also organised the ''deal''
There was no doubt the drug was intended for sale, the judge
Webb had admitted her part in the $12,000 to $18,000 import
of 62.5g of MDMA, although she initially pleaded not guilty
to the charges.
She had prior convictions for drug offending but they were a
long way in the past.
And, importantly, she had been a drug addict for a large part
of her life, reportedly having a major addiction since the
age of 16.
She had clearly had no chances in the past for an
electronically monitored sentence, the judge said.
Taking into account the steps Webb had taken in starting
Community Alcohol and Drugs Service counselling and having
clean drug screens for three months, Judge Phillips sentenced
her to nine months' home detention - ''12 months would be
impossible for you'' - and 250 hours' community work.
While on detention, Webb is not to use or possess alcohol or
illicit or non-prescription drugs and she must complete any
alcohol and drug treatment programmes, including a
residential programme, as directed.
Her detention is to be followed by six months' post-detention
conditions with the same treatment and programme