Woman avoids jail for web drug sales

Daniel Smith (25), pictured in 2014, is back behind bars after serving time for a manslaughter in 2010. Photo: ODT files
Daniel Smith (25), pictured in 2014, is back behind bars after serving time for a manslaughter in 2010. Photo: ODT files
The girlfriend of a convicted killer has narrowly dodged a jail term after the pair were caught in a police crackdown on online cannabis suppliers. Her partner, Daniel Ethan Smith, was not so lucky.

Sharlotte Jane Healey (25) avoided a prison stay ''by the narrowest of margins'' when she was sentenced by Judge Michael Turner at the Dunedin District Court last week on two charges of selling the class-C drug and two of offering to sell.

Smith (25) was imprisoned for two years four months; and it was not his first spell behind bars.

In April 2010, Smith stabbed Oamaru 16-year-old William Lewis three times in the back and was found guilty of manslaughter at trial after originally being convicted of murder.

He was locked up for five years nine months, and released in 2016.

In 2018, while Smith and Healey were living together in Christchurch, police began an operation targeting online drug dealers ''following a notable rise in the flow of intelligence relating to this method of drug offending''.

Undercover officers used covert Facebook profiles to organise purchases of illicit substances.

Healey, who went by the name ''Mary Smoke'' online, and Smith, calling himself ''Nick Jameson'', regularly offered cannabis for sale in closed Facebook groups as early as December 2017.

''Back in with your fat skunky as fids drops and pick ups ... Hmu churrr,'' (sic) they posted.

The pair also advertised their wares using photos of the product.

In May last year, police executed a search warrant at their home, where they found 425g of cannabis packed in deal bags.

Smith ended up behind bars, but Healey continued the enterprise, the court heard.

When an undercover officer went to the address less than a week after the raid, an alarm was heard as he walked up the driveway and Healey appeared at an open window holding three $50 bags.

The officer bought one and repeated the transaction a week later.

When police returned to the address in greater numbers on June 21, they found more deal bags and $2000 cash.

Healey claimed she was just selling the cannabis left over after Smith's arrest.

Judge Turner was sceptical though, and said that explanation meant the police must have been incompetent during their original search.

However, there was no evidence Healey had sourced cannabis from elsewhere.

Defence counsel Marie Taylor-Cyphers said her client was ''terrified'' about the prospect of going to prison and she had only become involved in the operation because of Smith's influence.

The defendant was the victim of a ''toxic relationship'', Ms Taylor-Cyphers said, peppered with domestic violence.

Healey was not a drug user and now wanted to concentrate on running her own business, the court heard.

She was sentenced to 10 months' home detention.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

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