Emma Channon

Drug trio in bid to 'pervert' justice

A TRIO who dumped a meth stash in the toilet and tried to flush it during a police raid have had their actions equated to perverting justice during a court appearance.

Andrew Barton Clarke-Davis, 21, Jamie-Lee O'Grady, 20, and Jessie-Anne Houghton, 17, appeared in the Warwick District Court yesterday in relation to the May 23 incident.

They each pleaded guilty to intentionally damaging evidence, which is a serious charge that could see offenders behind bars for up to seven years. The court heard Warwick police entered a Canning St address early that morning and entered the room where the three offenders where sleeping in a bed.

When police made their presence known, Clarke-Davis leapt to retrieve drugs he had had hidden in a black bum bag.

Police attempted to restrain Clarke-Davis but he managed to throw the "small sausage-sized" package to O'Grady, directing him to "flush it, flush it".

O'Grady successfully flushed the package.

Clarke-Davis threw a second package, which Houghton picked up off the floor and dropped into the toilet bowl.

Officers were able to restrain the young woman before she had an opportunity to flush it and the drugs were retrieved from the toilet.

Analysis confirmed the sausage-sized package contained methylamphetamine.

Crown prosecutor Russel Hood emphasised his concern about the serious nature of the offence.

"This is not a trivial offence and strikes at the heart of the administration of justice," he said.

Defence barrister Robbie Davies said Houghton was young mother who was "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

His argument that his client reacted "a bit instinctively" was rebuffed by Judge Julie Ryrie.

"I can hardly infer (Houghton) was waking up and doing something half-asleep. She knew what she was doing," she said.

Judge Julie Ryrie condemned the actions of the group, telling them had "essentially tried to pervert the course of justice".

Her honour also made mention of the financial and emotional devastation that can be endured by those who involve themselves with such serious drugs as methylamphetamine.

"This drug can do a lot of damage in the community, to those who use it and those who receive it," she said.

The court heard Clarke-Davis had a lengthy criminal history, which contained convictions for drug and dishonesty offences.

O'Grady had convictions for violence, dishonesty and drug offences.

Houghton had no prior history.

Judge Ryrie took two months of the sentences of Clarke-Davis and O'Grady, noting the two men had served 63 days in pre-sentence custody.

Clarke-Davis was yesterday sentenced to four months jail and O'Grady, who had a less serious criminal history than his co-offender, was sentenced to two months jail.

Both jail terms were wholly suspended for nine months, allowing the men to walk free from the court.

Houghton was placed on seven months probation for her involvement and no conviction was recorded against her.

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