Drug trafficker shaves jail term down

A CANNONVALE drug trafficker has successfully fought to reduce his jail sentence after arguing he is rehabilitated.

Robert Benjamin Frith, 38, was ordered in Mackay Supreme Court in November to serve 80% of a six-year jail sentence for supplying an undercover officer with $2000 worth of methylamphetamine as well as for trafficking the drug for almost a year in 2014-15.

He told an undercover agent he had $450,000 stored and was looking to save $1 million but it was suggested at sentencing this conversation was boasting and not based in truth.

In total, Frith supplied more than 77g, containing about 58g of pure methylamphetamine, in exchange for $36,150 cash during the trafficking period.

He paid a woman a weekly sum to sell drugs on his behalf eight hours a day, seven days a week.

Frith had a long history of drug offences including supply, production and possession.

The sentencing judge described a wholesale operation with considerable planning and sophistication, including steps to avoid detection.

He said he had rarely seen such an impressive bundle showing an offender's rehabilitation and it left him with a lurking doubt that Frith had approached his sentence with the same degree of planning, foresight and insight as his trafficking business.

While the sentencing judge said he would overlook his doubts, Frith argued in the Queensland Court of Appeal that he was not given proper credit for rehabilitating.

In a judgment handed down on Friday, three appeal court justices granted the appeal. They reduced the sentence from six to five years jail and suspended the term after Frith has served 3.5 years behind bars.

Justice David Boddice said Frith had undertaken more than just steps towards rehabilitation.

"Despite acknowledging the impressiveness of the material placed before the court and dismissing a lurking fear as to its genuineness, the sentencing judge sentenced (Frith) on the basis he had taken 'steps towards' and had made 'efforts at' rehabilitation," he said.

"He was rehabilitated on the evidence placed before the sentencing judge.

"The failure to make a finding of rehabilitation, in those particular circumstances, constituted an error which infected the exercise of the sentencing discretion."

- NewsRegional


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