CITING COVID-19 social distancing rules has become a common tactic for offenders trying to delay the carriage of justice, but for Melinda Joy Scott that excuse fell on deaf ears yesterday.

The 41-year-old mother of three appeared in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court via video link from the Queensland Women’s Correctional Centre to plead guilty to five breaches of bail and one count of drug possession.

Police prosecutor David Longhurst said the breaches dated from September 7 to October 5 and on each occasion, Scott failed to report at the Toowoomba Police Station.

Sgt Longhurst said the drug matter dated from February 15 when Scott was stopped and searched by police on patrol.

“They located a small clip-seal bag with methamphetamine inside,” he said.

“(Scott) told police she had picked it up off the ground.

“It was only a small amount, less than a point.”

Acting in her defence, solicitor Patrick O’Donnell said his client had received several COVID-19 tests about the same time and was confused as to whether it was safe to enter the police station to report.

Scott was unable to produce medical certificates to confirm she had indeed been tested.

In sentencing, Magistrate Graham Lee noted Scott’s long history of drug offending, that included several jail sentences.

He ordered three months jail for each parole breach, served concurrently and suspended for nine months.

For the drug offence, she was convicted and not further punished, noting that the offending would have fallen within a prior drug sentence.

Originally published as COVID was no excuse for breaching bail condition