MISTAKE MADE: A Dalby dad said it was “hanging with the wrong crowds” that caused his relapse into drug abuse.
MISTAKE MADE: A Dalby dad said it was “hanging with the wrong crowds” that caused his relapse into drug abuse.

Dad battled drugs for 20yrs because he was in ‘wrong crowd’

A 20-YEAR battle with drugs hit its boiling point for Andrew John Tawns, 42, who appeared before Dalby Magistrates Court charged with a string of drug-related offences.

Tawns, who cited hanging around with the "wrong crowd" as the reason for his drug addiction, stood silently at the back of the courtroom as he awaited the result of his offending.

The court heard on the first offence in time, on February 2, police were conducting patrols in Dalby when they intercepted the defendant driving at 7.50am, according to police prosecutor senior constable Jodie Tahana.

Checks of his licence revealed he had been SPER suspended since January 31.

He told police he had received the letter from SPER saying his payments had stopped, and he was driving to see a patient at the hospital.

At 10.40pm, he was intercepted again while still suspended.

The court heard on March 10, Tawns was intercepted by police on Cunningham Street at 11.30pm as he was seen leaving a house with drug intelligence, and had passengers in the car known to police for having drug intelligence.

He was detained for a search when he returned a negative drug test reading, but police located four clip seal bags in the car with less than 0.1g of methylamphetamines in the bags.

In a police interview, Tawns admitted to knowing about the items in the car, and said they were his.

Snr const Tahana told the court on April 24 police conducted a search warrant of an address on Condamine Street.

In Tawns's house, police located a bag with marijuana seeds, clip seal bags inside a sharps container with less than one gram of methylamphetamine, a medical certificate suspected of being stolen, a glass pipe, a straw fashioned into a scoop, and eight more clip seal bags inside a second sharps container along with an uncapped syringe.

The court heard on May 8, the Dalby Criminal Investigation Branch conducted a second search warrant where they located two grams of marijuana in a clip seal bag, a marijuana pipe, and an uncapped syringe.

Finally, the court heard that on June 1 at 2.30pm Tawns was intercepted by police for a drug test where he tested positive for having methylamphetamine and marijuana in his system.

Snr const Tahana told the court in her submissions that Tawns had previously succeeded in competing a suspended sentence without reoffending, so a period of probation or a suspended sentence was within range.

Duty lawyer Phil Stainton said Tawns had struggled with his addiction to drugs for 20 years of his life.

The father worked as a farm hand labourer, and had one daughter in his care.

Tawns broke down before his sentencing, and said he was scared of "not being with my girl".

"If there was a way I could show you every day that I wasn't doing drugs, I would," he said to Magistrate Tracy Mossop.

Tawns pleaded guilty to 14 charges, namely two counts of driving without a licence because of a SPER suspension, four counts of possessing dangerous drugs, failing to properly dispose of a needle and syringe, two counts of possessing property suspected of having been used in connection with the commission of a drug offence, two counts of possessing utensils or pipes that had been used, unlawful possession of suspected stolen property, failure to take reasonable care and precautions in respect of syringe or needle, and driving with a relevant drug present in his saliva while the holder of a probationary or provisional licence.

For the two driving offences, he was convicted and not further punished, and disqualified from driving for one month.

For the offence of driving with a relevant drug in his system, he was disqualified for nine months in total, added to the further one month suspension.

For the property offences, namely possessing the eight clip seal bags, he was convicted and not further punished.

For all drug offences, he was sentenced to 18 months probation.

Convictions were recorded.