Man who imported magic mushrooms to treat depression discharged

The man’s offending came to light when New Zealand Customs screened a package addressed to the...
The man’s offending came to light when New Zealand Customs screened a package addressed to the defendant. Photo: Getty Images
A man who imported magic mushrooms last year to help treat depression has been discharged without conviction.

In the Queenstown District Court yesterday, Judge Bernadette Farnan also granted permanent name suppression to the 30-year-old sales assistant who had earlier admitted importing class A-controlled psilocybin on October 11.

She said the man’s offending came to light when New Zealand Customs screened a package addressed to the defendant.

It was found to contain 55.6g of the drug, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms.

The defendant said he bought it online from a Dutch website to help treat his depression.

The website allegedly said it was legal in New Zealand and it could be imported to this country.

Through counsel Hugo Young, the man sought a discharge without conviction.

Mr Young submitted the offending was at the lowest end of the scale, the amount involved was small and he had "genuine reasons" to purchase the drug, which he had done so before, legally, in other jurisdictions.

Police were opposed to the discharge but accepted the defendant had "significant" mental health challenges and were not opposed to name suppression being granted.

Judge Farnan ultimately found the gravity of his offending to be in the lower category and said a conviction would exacerbate his already ‘‘serious’’ mental health issues.

Other consequences included impacts on his current and future employment.

Judge Farnan granted the discharge, however, she ordered the man to make a $500 donation to the Salvation Army and pay $130 court costs.

Where to get help

• Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor

• Depression Helpline, phone 0800 111 757 to talk to a trained counsellor

• Healthline, phone 0800 611 116, if you feel unwell or sick, or need advice

• Samaritans, phone 0800 726 666, if you need confidential emotional support 24/7

• Youthline, phone 0800 376 633, free text 234, or email talk@youthline.co.nz

• What’s Up, phone 0800 942 8787, for 5 to 18-year-olds. Monday to Friday, noon to 11pm, weekends 3pm to 11pm. Online chat 5pm to 10pm, 7 days, at www.whatsup.co.nz

• OUTLine NZ, phone 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE), support for sexuality or gender-identity issues. Helpline available 6pm to 9pm daily.

• Lifeline, phone 0800 543 354, or text HELP to 4357/.

• In an emergency, or if you feel you or someone else is at risk, phone 111.

 

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter