Rockhampton man says drugs were to fund rental bond

THE only home Frederick William Stapleton had to protect him from the bite of winter was a swag under a house in Berserker.

That was what he called "home" for some time last year.

A Rockhampton court yesterday heard how the 66-year-old Rockhampton man, with an exceptional 50-year work history, had resorted to selling cannabis in a last ditch attempt to improve his living standards.

Stapleton pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton District Court to one count of trafficking cannabis, one count of possessing cannabis and one count of using a mobile phone for trafficking a dangerous drug after police raided a Berserker home last year.

Crown Prosecutor Russell Hood said when police searched the Berserker property, in August last year, they found Stapleton's swag under the house.

Inside the swag were several small quantities of cannabis packed neatly inside clip-seal bags.

Police learned in their interview with Stapleton that the swag was his home.

The police also learned that Stapleton, a non-drug user, had bought $700 worth of cannabis from a Brisbane dealer and was going to sell his stash to make money for a rental bond.

Mr Hood said in his interview with the police, Stapleton made full and honest admissions of what he wanted to do with the cannabis, despite several friends urging him to tell officers it was for personal use only.

Stapleton's defence barrister Ross LoMonaco said his client left school at the age of 12 and started working.

He said his client had an excellent work history - and was a "ticketed" (licensed) heavy machinery driver - particularly in labour-type roles.

In the past three years though, Stapleton had been finding it hard to find work. He did however find time to work for local charities in a voluntary role.

Stapleton now lives in a unit in Rockhampton.

Judge Paul Smith acknowledged the defendant's offence was at the lower end of the trafficking scale.

He sentenced Stapleton to a four-month intensive corrections order.

Topics:  cannabis court crime district court

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