A YOUNG Dubbo man who committed crimes to fund intravenous drug use has been praised for turning his life around.
Andrew Michael Lincoln was facing up to 14 years in jail when he was arrested on multiple break and enter and property offences.
Dubbo Local Court gave Lincoln the opportunity to take part in the Magistrate’s Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) drug and alcohol program.
After spending time in a residential rehabilitation centre, the 23-year-old returned to face Magistrate Andrew Eckhold “20 kilograms heavier, working and back playing sport”.
“A different man is sitting before you,” Legal Aid said.
The court heard Lincoln was a rising sporting star at age 19 – he was working full-time and had purchased a house.
He went from “smoking a bit of cannabis” to using speed and Oxycontin (commonly known as hillbilly heroin).
When his pregnant partner walked out, Lincoln left Dubbo for six months before “coming back clean”. The court heard he reverted to intravenous drug use when his grandfather became ill.
Magistrate Eckhold said Lincoln’s crimes were driven by drug dependency.
“It would have taken hundreds of dollars a day to fund your habit,” the magistrate said.
“Break and enters are serious and can have a lasting impact on victims who sometimes feel invaded for the rest of their lives.
“People should be able to feel safe in their own homes. You did the wrong thing but fortunately no acts of violence were committed.”
Magistrate Eckhold said Lincoln was given an opportunity to take part in drug detoxification and rehabilitation in March.
“You have done rehab successfully,” he said.
“The final report from MERIT is very positive.”
Magistrate Eckhold warned Lincoln drug dependency was a chronic relapsing condition.
“It takes a very mature person not to relapse and reoffend,” he said.
“You are going to need continued support.”
Lincoln was placed on an 18-month suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to three charges of break and enter.
Four other charges were withdrawn by the prosecution.
Lincoln will be supervised by the probation and parole service. He was fined $200 and ordered to pay $83 court costs.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.