Man's fall from grace influenced by ice addiction
A MACKAY man's nosedive from star apprentice at an engineering firm to ice-addicted crook has played out in a public fashion before the courts.
Several years ago Craig James Buckton, 32, was nominated Apprentice of the Year while working at an engineering firm.
In late November he pleaded guilty from prison to a crime spree linked to an ice (methamphetamine) addiction.
Buckton faced Magistrate Damien Dwyer in Mackay Magistrates Court on November 24, via videolink.
He admitted to two counts of driving on the drug ice, three counts of possessing drug utensils; and one count of failing to stop for police, possessing a knife in public, defacing a number plate, possessing a fake number plate, failing to stop at a stop line, possession of the drug ice, driving unlicenced, driving unregistered, driving uninsured and breaching probation.
The offences were committed between June 8 and August 16 in the Mackay region, prosecutor Shelby Larcombe said.
During the sentencing hearing, Mr Dwyer summed up submissions by Ms Larcombe and defence solicitor Aaron Sellentin, of Barron Barron & Allen Lawyers.
One one occasion, Buckton underwent a roadside drug test and "made admissions to using the drug (ice) three months earlier". "I don't accept that it was three months earlier," Mr Dwyer said.
On another, police patrolling Mackay spotted Buckton and another person exit a car and detained Buckton for questioning.
"Police found that person crouching down at the open window, talking to the driver ... that driver was you," Mr Dwyer said.
Police searched Buckton and his car, finding a Swiss army knife in the driver's side door pocket and a backpack.
"In a search, police located a small clip-seal bag containing a metal spoon, which you had used to measure out quantities of drug for consumption," Mr Dwyer said.
Another of Buckton's run-ins with police saw him pulled over on Sydney Street, Mackay for a licence check.
Buckton underwent a drug test and despite claiming he'd only used "over the counter flu tablets", it read as positive for ice.
During another police interception, police noticed Buckton "was fidgety", searched his vehicle and a spoon and scales connected to drug use were found.
"You told police you used those items to weigh gems," Mr Dwyer said.
The majority of the charges were linked to another incident in Milton St, Mackay. Police activated lights and sirens to pull over Buckton, who was riding a motorbike, but he ran a red light and fled.
" ... you have then lost control of the motor vehicle and come to a stop along the kerb," Mr Dwyer said.
Police blocked Buckton's path as he attempted to put the motorbike in gear again, he "jumped from the bike", but promptly surrendered.
Checks showed the motorbike was unregistered and uninsured, and its plates had been defaced and were false.
Taken to Mackay Watch-house, a search found Buckton carrying a small bag of ice.
Mr Dwyer said Buckton, who was unemployed, "continued the regular use" of ice during probation and dodged urine testing.
Mr Dwyer said Mr Sellentin had submitted Queensland Corrections Probation and Parole department had failed to properly help Buckton.
The magistrate agreed, but said Buckton was equally to blame.
Mr Sellentin told the court Buckton had undertaken training in prison, was addicted to ice and planned to move from Mackay to dissociate from negative influences.
Mr Dwyer noted Buckton had been placed on probation earlier this year for similar crimes, including possessing tainted property, possessing dangerous drugs, two counts of breaching bail and three counts of possessing drug utensils.
Buckton was sentenced to 13 months jail in total, but was released on immediate parole, considering 101 days served before sentence.
His licence was also disqualified for 18 months and he was placed on probation for 15 months.
Mr Dwyer told Buckton he could expect harsher jail terms if convicted again, and Buckton replied "I won't be back".