No jail time for dope dealers despite $85,000 confession

A MOTHER and son who were growing and selling large amounts of cannabis effectively dobbed themselves in.

Ryan Arthur Hemington, 30 and Wendy Hemington, 61 appeared in Ipswich District Court together on Wednesday facing a possible 20-year and 15-year maximum sentence behind bars, respectively.

The pair was charged in February with a host of offences related to growing and selling marijuana out of their One Mile home, after it was raided by police.

The court heard there would have been fewer charges against the pair if they hadn't freely confessed their illegal activities.

A search of text messages on Ryan's phone only revealed half of the trafficking activity that took place over a three-year period.

Prosecutors in the case said Ryan, who first smoked pot at the age of 14, was buying and selling the drug to feed his own habit.

But there was a seven month gap in the phone records when he and a friend were buying in bulk and Ryan didn't need to supplement his use by selling.

"Without his admissions the first part of that three-year period would have gone undetected," Crown prosecutor James Marxson said.

Mr Marxson also told the court the crops were not of a commercial standard, supporting the admissions the cannabis was for personal use and to share with friends.

It was only with Ryan's cooperation that police were able to quantify the amount of cannabis bought and sold during that time, estimated to be worth $85,000.

Outside the courthouse Ryan Hemington, sentenced to two years parole for five charges including producing dangerous drugs related to two crops grown at the One Mile home, said he didn't regret his confession.

"I was always taught to always be honest," Hemington said.

"I wanted a clean slate to start over and to acknowledge that I have a drug problem.

"This has been the worst day of my life."

Standing in the courtroom yesterday, Hemington was "sh*t scared" that he would be sent to jail, he said.

Sentencing Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren made it clear the charges Ryan was facing were serious but took into account his honesty, lack of criminal history and prospects for rehabilitation in the sentence.

The court heard Wendy Hemington, charged with suppling, possessing and producing a dangerous drug, had been using marijuana since 2013 as pain relief after it was recommended to her by a friend.

She was convicted and fined $1500 for her crimes, although no conviction was recorded.

Ryan was sentenced to two and half years imprisonment with immediate parole.

As part of Ryan's two-year parole sentence, Judge Horneman-Wren imposed special conditions that he undergo counselling and submit to drug testing.

Both said they had now stopped using marijuana.

Editor's note: The paper version of this story incorrectly stated Wendy Hemington had been charged with trafficking. We apologise for the error. 

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