Cannabis dealer given home detention

Joshua Dawkins (31) says he has now been drug-free for four months. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
Joshua Dawkins (31) says he has now been drug-free for four months. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
A Dunedin man who sold nearly $100,000 of cannabis over four months has dodged a term of imprisonment.

Joshua Thomas Dawkins appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he was sentenced to nine months’ home detention and 150 hours’ community work on charges of dealing the class-C drug and possessing it for supply.

When police launched an investigation into large-scale cannabis dealing, officers swiftly zeroed in on the defendant.

Dawkins would travel to Christchurch on a sometimes weekly basis to source commercial quantities which he would later break down on his return south.

The court heard the defendant would sell by the ounce, half ounce, “hundy” and $50 bags, transactions arranged over various online platforms.

From December 2020 to April the following year, Dawkins treated the illicit enterprise as a full-time job, working six days a week and delivering cannabis around the city, court documents said.

Police estimated he sold $96,000 worth over the period.

And when they raided various properties linked to Dawkins, it confirmed the defendant’s operation was undoubtedly set to continue.

In his bedroom was a bucket containing three large bags of cannabis and a backpack with a smaller amount.

Dawkins’ Toyota, parked outside, contained the most substantial find — another bucket containing more than 2kg of the drug, bagged by the ounce.

The search warrant also entitled police to search the defendant’s parent’s home.

There they uncovered a third bucket containing 450g.

All up, the drug haul was worth $44,000.

Dawkins was candid when interviewed by police.

He admitted the cannabis was his and he planned to sell it, ultimately to service his addiction which had grown to an ounce every couple of days.

While Dawkins opposed the Otago Daily Times’ application to photograph him, Judge Peter Rollo said open justice was critical.

The defendant, who had been sober for four months, should be held up as a model of what someone could do with “gumption” and a solid support base, he said.

"You're an example of how others in the community who fall foul of the law can right the course of the ship," the judge said.

The court heard Dawkins had attended Specialist Addiction Services shortly after his arrest and had graduated from a group programme.

Judge Rollo noted he had continued to attend and had "unintentionally taken a senior role in the group".

While it was encouraging, the judge stressed it was the beginning of Dawkins' turnaround.

"You yourself will determine what the finish is."

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