Father's drug deals done out of 'need, not greed'
A DRUG seller's self-confession provided the incriminating evidence used in a Crown case to convict him.
The Ipswich court heard the financially struggling dad on a disability support pension had serious health issues and conducted street-level crimes to provide for his three adult and teenage sons.
He was not a drug user and had survived a double lung transplant.
Shane Michael Hegedus, 47, from Goodna, pleaded guilty in Ipswich District Court to trafficking in dangerous drugs (marijuana) between February-May 2018; possession of dangerous drugs; possession of anything used in a crime; and possession of property used in drug offences.
Crown prosecutor Farook Anoozer said police found marijuana and drug-related items when searching his home, with Hegedus admitting to selling marijuana in street- level supplies for three months.
"He says he is not a user and sells to supplement his income. He says he would buy a bag for $1500 then sell (in smaller amounts), making around $300 to $500 profit," Mr Anoozer said.
"The quantity is not known."
Two bags (113g each) of marijuana were found at his house.
Mr Anoozer said given Hegedus's medical condition, he could be sentenced and either released immediately to parole, or handed a suspended sentence.
"Without his admissions, he would not be charged with trafficking," Mr Anoozer said.
He said Hegedus conducted his business from the house - exposing his sons to the drug.
"He doesn't go out (to sell). People come to his door, just knock on the door," he said.
Defence barrister Justin Thomas said two sons were adults and the drugs were stashed in a linen cupboard.
The other items were found in Hegedus's bedroom.
The family had previously lived in Sydney and Hervey Bay before moving to Ipswich.
Mr Thomas outlined his ongoing medical issues. He said in 2002, Hegedus was hospitalised with pneumonia that led to lung failure.
Despite a 2 per cent survival rate, Hegedus survived a double lung transplant and spent 18 months in Royal Brisbane Hospital - four months in ICU.
He said Hegedus was on disability support benefits and paid $370 a week rent for the house where he lived.
Two adult sons did not work.
"He was falling behind in his capacity to meet his financial obligations," Mr Thomas said.
"He and his sons have never used drugs.
"None receive an income. Nor from Centrelink (at the time)."
Mr Thomas conceded selling marijuana set a poor example to his family, but a mate who was a smoker introduced Hegedus to the drug.
"He saw an opportunity to alleviate his financial hardship," Mr Thomas said.
"He has no intention to return to this conduct.
"It was very low-level. To supply marijuana to people he knew and supplement his income in a very modest way.
"He has completed a positive lifestyle program with The Salvation Army."
Judge Dennis Lynch QC sentenced Hegedus to a two-year jail term, immediately suspended for three years.
"The evidence is clear that marijuana is classified a serious drug for good reason," Judge Lynch said.
"It can have enormous significance to individuals.
"It can expose those who are prone to mental health disorders. Whatever people may think, it remains a criminal offence."
Judge Lynch said he reduced the penalty because of Hegedus's co-operation, genuine remorse, and because he offended out of need and not greed.