Prescription drug addiction fuels pharmacy burglaries
A 29-year-old who grew up in a loving, religious family has avoided actual jail time after breaking into several pharmacies to fuel his prescription drug addiction.
Zachariah Matthew Hill, from Tewantin, was on Tuesday sentenced to nine months in jail with immediate parole after entering pharmacies in Yeppoon in July and September and taking prescription drugs.
Police prosecutor Allison Johnstone told Noosa Magistrates Court that Hill caused significant damage to a business on July 23 when his spree began.
The court heard Hill broke into another Yeppoon pharmacy on July 27 to take prescription drugs and again entered a Yeppoon pharmacy in September with the same motive.
"Compensation is sought, the total value being $5379.89 for the damage in relation to breaking into the premises and also for the items that were stolen, being the drug items," Sergeant Johnstone said.
Hill pleaded guilty to seven offences including entering a premises and committing an indictable offence by break.
The court heard he had previously received three probation orders for property offences in 2013 and 2014.
Sgt Johnstone argued Hill should be sentenced to actual jail time.
Defence lawyer Bernard Bradley argued his client could instead serve a sentence in the community and receive further rehabilitation.
"In my submission, here your honour would quite easily accept that my client's addiction to prescription medication or abuse of prescription medication is wholly responsible and a motive for his breaking into chemists in particular," Mr Bradley said.
"This was a serious addiction and it has been significantly addressed and I have material to support that."
Mr Bradley said Hill had the support of his parents who sat in the courtroom as he was sentenced.
"Mr Hill grew up in a religious family … " he said.
"Both he and his brother were raised in a respectable and loving family."
The court heard Hill, who grew up on the Sunshine Coast, had worked as a roof tiler, IT technician and most recently an apprentice chef.
Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said he accepted that Hill's offending was entirely motivated by his drug addiction.
He said he also had to consider the protection of the community, deterring others from similar offending and the support Hill had in rehabilitation.
Hill was ordered to pay compensation for the loss he caused.