How did Brendan Robert Rybarczyk end up smoking marijuana daily at 14 and using methamphetamine by 18?
How did Brendan Robert Rybarczyk end up smoking marijuana daily at 14 and using methamphetamine by 18? John Gass

Using meth by 18, what went wrong for this young man?

HE CAME from a church-going family who weren't exposed to violence, drugs or alcohol.

So how did Brendan Robert Rybarczyk end up smoking marijuana daily at 14 and using methamphetamine by 18?

The 25-year-old's history gave little insight into how he spiralled into a life of crime, but it did surprise Judge Michael Burnett as he sentenced Rybarczyk in for drug offences on Friday.

Rybarczyk and his co-offender Michelle Elizabeth Jonsen both pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton District Court to one count each of aggravated supply of a dangerous drug in a correctional facility and taking a prohibited item into a correctional facility.

The court heard Rybarczyk was serving time at the Capricornia Correctional Centre this year when he asked then partner Jonsen to bring him drugs and tobacco.

The pair spoke over the phone in conversations intercepted and recorded by authorities.

When Jonsen visited the centre on May 14, a search revealed a 10cm package of buprenorphine hidden in her bra and a note from Rybarczyk in her handbag asking for cigarettes.


rok-nit15ac l-r O'Dowds'  Brendan Rybarczyk  cw 15-1010-29
Brendan Rybarczyk Chris Wills

Prosecutor Elise Sargent said Jonsen was to be paid $1000 for the drugs, but no money changed hands.

On May 18, authorities recorded another call between the couple where Rybarczyk told Jonsen "he was sorry, he would cop it and never wanted it to happen".

Ms Sargent said the introduction of drugs and tobacco to the prison struck at the heart of discipline and rehabilitation.

Defence Barrister Tom Polley spoke on behalf of Jonsen, a 41-year-old mum of six. Jonsen was adopted, but Mr Polley said she described a good upbringing in Warwick.

At 14, her father had a heart attack behind the wheel as he was driving them to a fishing trip.

Mr Polley said Jonsen had described "having problems" following from her dad's sudden death.

After his death, Jonsen left home and joined a travelling show before eventually settling down and starting a family.

Her six children range from three to 22 years.

Between having children, Jonsen volunteered with St Vincent De Paul and worked in hospitality.

Mr Polley said Jonsen and Rybarczyk began a relationship in 2013, after having met in 2010.

The court heard within six months, Rybarczyk's drug use had become a problem which Jonsen soon became caught up in as she became addicted to methamphetamine.

It's a habit she has now kicked.

Jonsen's family supported her in court as she was sentenced.

Although money was promised for the transaction, Mr Polley said "she saw that as more of a ploy to get her to come into something she didn't want to do" than a real incentive.

Defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand spoke on behalf of Rybarczyk, who was the fifth of six children in a family committed to the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

Rybarczyk left North Rockhampton High School at 15 to complete a panel beating apprenticeship.

Mr Ahlstrand said Rybarczyk started smoking marijuana recreationally at 14, but "rapidly progressed to daily use".

At 18, he turned to methamphetamine.

During a period of imprisonment in March 2015, Rybarczyk was bashed so badly by fellow inmates he spent three weeks in a coma and a further three in ICU with a fractured skull and cochlear.

Judge Burnett said Rybarczyk had a "surprisingly functional upbringing", telling him "you seem to have been the black sheep".

Rybarczyk was declared to have served 35 days in pre-sentence custody.

He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, released on parole immediately.

For her role in the offences, Jonsen was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment to be served on an intensive correction order in the community.