GUILTY: Former adult store owner trafficking drugs
AS 67-year-old Patricia Ann Lawrence sat behind the glass dock in Rockhampton District Court yesterday, her hands began to tremble.
Learning her fate, Judge Farr left Lawrence with these words, "You will not go to jail today".
The pensioner pleaded guilty to the trafficking and possession of illegal drugs through her Rockhampton Adult Fun Etc store, during a two-and-a-half month period in 2012.
During that time, Lawrence made about $5225 from selling at least 189g of synthetic cannabis, which she claimed she did not know was illegal.
The synthetics were in addition to 1984 capsules of sildenafil, more commonly known as Viagra.
Her defence claimed she had checked with other adult stores in the region that were also selling the products, and the manufacturers.
Sentencing Lawrence to 12 months' jail time suspended immediately, Judge Farr said she had a responsibility to know the law.
"You were selling in a retail capacity. There was an onus on you to ensure the product was lawful... this was no doubt influenced by potential profit," he said.
He described the ignorance as a "highly reckless attitude".
Judge Farr went on to explain synthetic cannabis had been added to the Schedule II drug list in 2011, 10 months before Lawrence's offences.
He concluded the synthetic version of the drug was just as harmful.
"It can have the same effect as cannabis... it causes health problems, including psychosis," Judge Farr said.
"It is not classified as a dangerous drug for no reason."
The adult store has since been closed indefinitely with Lawrence's retirement following the charges.