‘One-man walking criminal enterprise’ in jail
A "ONE-man walking criminal enterprise" will spend time behind bars after pleading guilty in the Supreme Court of Rockhampton yesterday to 23 charges, including trafficking methamphetamine.
Nathan Andrew Mark Laidlaw, 28, was charged for an elaborate methamphetamine trafficking ring over a five-month period in 2014 after police monitored his mobile phone activity throughout July.
Crown prosecutor Joshua Phillips said Laidlaw paid a "standover man who was at the ready" throughout the period in which he sourced and supplied methamphetamine on a daily basis.
Mr Phillips told the court Laidlaw had 15 suppliers and 17 customers and operated a "cynically commercial" set-up.
"(He received) significant amounts of money as profit," he said.
"He was cynically business-like about it.
"He was so confident with his position he didn't even bother with code names."
Laidlaw was also charged for stealing furniture and white goods from several properties, with a value of $26,000, and fraud in taking out an insurance policy under his neighbour's name.
In a separate incident, he was charged for assault occasioning bodily harm after he punched another man in the jaw.
"His stealing was no drop in the ocean," Mr Phillips said.
Laidlaw served 413 days pre-sentence custody for the offences which included several drug utensil-related summary charges.
Defence barrister Tom Polley said Laidlaw "felt lucky he ended up in jail".
"He could have been dead by now," Mr Polley said.
"Jail was the only way he could get away from the drug.
"His incarceration was a blessing in disguise."
Justice Duncan McMeekin said Laidlaw was "in the big league".
"It's all very well to say he's sorry now but he has blighted so many lives and businesses," he said.
"One of the most disturbing features of the facts is you paid a standover man and you engaged in this evil trade on a commercial basis."
Laidlaw was sentenced to six years in prison with parole eligibility after serving three years.