Child safety officer sent to prison for drug trafficking
WHAT does it take for a child protection officer to turn to drugs and trafficking, committing career suicide?
Darren Glen Doyle, 45, could answer that question.
On November 23 he pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court of Rockhampton to one count of trafficking.
The court heard at the time of the trafficking period, Doyle worked for the Department of Child Safety as a child protection officer, spending lots of time on the road driving out west as far as Longreach and dealing with children "very much in need".
Defence Barrister Ross Lo Monaco said Doyle started this role in 2012 after a 18-year career with Queensland Rail as a fitter and turner and later, a training co-ordinator.
Doyle's criminal history was limited: a drug charge that was 19 years old and a drug possession charge in 2012.
Crown prosecutor Megan Jones said Doyle's traffick- ing activity between August 20, 2015, and September 7, 2016, involved selling methamphetamines, cannabis and prescription drugs to friends and family members.
Police uncovered the activity through SMSs on Doyle's phone, of which there were 1120 in total.
Ms Jones said Doyle, a street-level trafficker, had 27 customers which he sold 0.4 grams to a ball (3.5g) of meth and the average cannabis sale was seven grams for $50.
He also made three sales of Viagra pills at $25 a tablet.
Doyle also had "runners" and "employees" for his drug business.
"When he was unable to supply he would ask others to supply on his behalf," Ms Jones said.
She said the trafficking started when he supplied drugs to his own adult daughter.
Mr Lo Monaco said one of his sons had a bad experience with drugs and Doyle had hoped by supplying the drugs himself, his son would not have another bad experience.
Doyle lost his job and his house when he was arrested for trafficking.
Mr Lo Monaco said Doyle was now doing a course through Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory with hopes to become a counsellor.
He said his client found working as a child protect- ion officer "very stressful".
"He was working long hours. He was on the road a lot," Mr Lo Monaco said.
"He started to use cannabis, and (this) led to meth,to help with the travelling and stress."
He said the trafficking helped keep his own habit.
Justice Duncan McMeekin said: "Your background is very different to the backgrounds I normally hear,"
"I can readily accept a job such as that (child protection officer) does require long hours and stress," Justice McMeeeking said.
"That does not excuse use of drugs."
He sentenced Doyle to 3.5 years prison, suspended after eight months and operational for four years. Doyle will be released from prison on July 22, 2018.