Man praised for getting off drugs

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
A Bunbury magistrate has said it is “sad” the court does not see more “success stories” during sentencing a man over drug and theft charges.
Camera IconA Bunbury magistrate has said it is “sad” the court does not see more “success stories” during sentencing a man over drug and theft charges. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

A Bunbury magistrate says it is “sad” the court does not see more “success stories”, praising a rehabilitation resident for turning his life around before sentencing him for drug and theft charges.

Luke Charles Ronald Martin, 33, avoided jail time when he was fined in Bunbury Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Among Martin’s string of offences was one of driving with methamphetamine in his system and two counts of refusing to go with police for further drug analyses when he was stopped on two other occasions.

Martin was first stopped by police while driving on Dodson Road in Bunbury on December 20, 2017 when he tested positive for meth.

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On two other occasions on December 28 and February 26, 2018, Martin was stopped on Old Coast Road in Australind, where both times he was tested and refused to go with officers to the police station.

Martin told police he did not want to go because he had previously been convicted of driving with illicit drugs in his system.

Martin also walked into a yard in Picton Crescent in South Bunbury and stole a work utility before being chased by workers on February 16, 2018.

Martin was stopped by police eight minutes later on Ocean Drive, where he told officers he had borrowed the car from a friend and gave a false name.

Martin pleaded guilty to all charges, including providing false personal details and stealing a motor vehicle.

Defence lawyer Vito Laurino said Martin had previously spent time in jail for drug-related crimes, but on his release in August, 2017, he was drug-free.

Martin relapsed during the Christmas period when his life “unravelled quickly” according to Mr Laurino.

Mr Laurino said Martin “reclaimed his life” after completing a supervised treatment intervention regime and becoming a resident at Serenity Lodge.

He said Martin understood how easy it was “to fall back into his old ways” and that he could not “drop his guard”.

Magistrate Belinda Coleman responded that it was not very often the court saw success stories and told Martin it was “sad this court doesn’t see more success stories like you”.

Magistrate Coleman said when Martin first appeared in court, he was facing jail time but it was obvious when he abstained from drugs he did not offend.

“You have worked very hard ... you are continuing to work hard,” Magistrate Coleman said.

While Magistrate Coleman said the offences were serious, she fined Martin $3800 in total plus costs and had his licence disqualified for six months.

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