Drug-dealing mother sent to jail

A Rotorua mother who started dealing drugs in order to fund her methamphetamine habit has been jailed for three years 10 months.

Tina Jessica Turner, 47, was last month found guilty by a High Court at Rotorua jury of possession of methamphetamine and cannabis for supply, having previously pleaded guilty to charges of possession of cannabis, methamphetamine (P) and utensils.

She and co-accused, patched Mongrel Mob member Tai Nuttall, 46, were targets of a police electronic surveillance operation in which their text messages and phone calls were intercepted.

In 2009 police stopped Nuttall driving Turner's BMW in Mamaku, north of Rotorua, and found about 25g of methamphetamine, 37g of cannabis, and $12,600 cash, as well as utensils for smoking the drugs and scales, plastic bags and straws used to divide it into smaller quantities for sale.

Nuttall pleaded guilty to 16 drug-related charges two days into their trial and was due to be sentenced with Turner in the High Court at Auckland today.

However, this was delayed because he had written a letter to the court contesting an allegation in the police summary of facts that he had been selling methamphetamine in 100g lots.

Although he had previously signed the document, Justice Aisla Duffy decided not to sentence him today because it could give him grounds to appeal.

The matter will go to a disputed facts hearing in the High Court at Rotorua.

Turner's lawyer, Jonathan Temm, said his client had started dealing when her methamphetamine addiction got out of control and she began associating with criminals.

Other than some minor drug offences she had lead a blameless life and she was at low risk of reoffending, he said.

Justice Duffy acknowledged Turner had had a difficult life and was under considerable stress when the offending occurred - her partner had just had a severe heart attack, which had made him "a totally different person".

She had been driving between Rotorua and Hamilton three times a week to see him in hospital, using methamphetamine to keep awake and cannabis to get to sleep.

However, Justice Duffy said her personal circumstances carried little weight and sentenced her to three years 10 months' jail and ordered the forfeiture of the $12,600 found upon her arrest.

The case was a typical example of the destructive nature of methamphetamine, she said.

"Methamphetamine is a pernicious drug that is harmful to the community. One only needs to looks at your life to see the destruction of which this drug is capable."

Turner is to appear in court on further drug-related charges next month.


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