By Ric Stephens, Open Justice Reporter from
A parolee has been called back to prison and had his additional sentence added to his current sentence for setting up a one-man drug business after his release.
Oliver Leroy Stewart, 32, appeared via audiovisual link from jail when he was sentenced in Napier District Court on Thursday.
He previously pleaded guilty to trafficking methamphetamine and possession of drugs for the purpose of supply.
Judge Russell Collins described Stewart’s drug trafficking history. He said Stewart was jailed in 2011 for possession of cannabis for supply purposes, and again for two years in 2015 for trafficking illicit drugs.
In 2018, Stewart was jailed for seven years for possession of methamphetamine for supply purposes.
He had been paroled from that sentence when it was discovered by police that he was once again involved in trafficking as a “sole trader”. He was recalled to prison as a result.
Judge Collins told Stewart that meth “frankly wreaks havoc on people’s lives.”
Defense attorney Matthew Phelps said Stewart was motivated to overcome his own addiction and intended to seek treatment through Odyssey House’s drug rehabilitation program upon his next release.
Megan Mitchell, for the Crown, acknowledged Stewart’s addiction issues and said he had already taken three drug treatment courses, but these did not appear to have had any impact on his delinquency.
Judge Collins said the Court of Appeal made it clear that remission for addiction was available, “but it’s not automatic and not generalized”.
“Some [members of the public] fighting for someone to get a reduction for their addiction when they are just making others addicted,” the judge said.
He sentenced Stewart to two years and three months in prison, to add to the seven-year sentence handed down in 2018.
“This was serious Class A drug trafficking in methamphetamine on your part while you were on parole for that same offence,” the judge said.
In 2017, Stewart was one of many people arrested in what was then the largest meth bust in Hawke’s Bay. In this case, the police seized 3 kg of drugs, with a street value of 2.5 million dollars.
* This story originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald