Stubbed out: Candid dealer's sentence was high enough
AN UPFRONT drug dealer can stay in the country after the state's highest court said his sentence was just fine.
Andrew Noel Hensleigh Norris made tens of thousands of dollars selling marijuana during a four-year Sunshine Coast dealing blitz, then effectively dobbed himself in.
The New Zealand-born man was so candid, prosecutor Michael Gawrych previously admitted the Crown would've struggled pursuing a trafficking charge if not for the admissions.
But any hopes of deporting Norris were snuffed out in December 2016, when Judge Gary Young at Maroochydore immediately suspended Norris's four-year jail sentence.
Judge Young said Norris only sold marijuana to three or four people.
And Norris, he said, sometimes traded weed for goods or services rather than cash, and sometimes sold at a discount.
The Attorney-General's office went to Queensland Court of Appeal in November, saying the sentence was too soft.
Norris, now in his mid-50s, is a Kiwi citizen who moved to Australia as a two-year-old.
It seemed "nothing was done about his citizenship status in the meantime,” said Michael Byrne QC, barrister for the Attorney-General.
"Had it been so much as just one day of that head sentence to be served” then the law dealing with visa cancellations could have been invoked - and Norris potentially tossed out of Australia.
Norris's counsel John Allen QC told the appeal court his client had made efforts to rehabilitate.
And he said Judge Young "specifically disavowed taking into account the prospect of deportation”.
Mr Allen said Norris was being a "useful member of his community” in paid and unpaid employment.
Justice Robert Gotterson of the appeal court studied cases including R v Weekes, in which a Cairns man was sentenced to five years, six months years for trafficking marijuana.
But unlike Norris, Weekes had an extensive criminal history including public order offences and numerous breaches of bail and other court orders.
Justice Gotterson said Norris's sentence was adequate.
"In my view [it] takes fairly into account the nature and seriousness of the offending as well as the respondent's personal circumstances, including his continuing rehabilitation.” -NewsRegional