Drugs and violence, recipe for jail for former footy player
FORMER Gladstone A-grade footy player Matthew Allen Eddie Anderson is lucky not to be spending the rest of his life in jail after a spectacular fall from grace.
After a protracted court process over a number of years which included 744 days served in pre-sentence custody, Anderson received justice in Rockhampton Supreme Court yesterday for crimes involving drugs and violence - both of which carry a maximum penalty of life in jail.
The 42-year-old pleaded guilty to burglary, stealing, supplying and trafficking a dangerous drug, using a (phone) in the commission of a crime, making threats, stealing a vehicle, dealing in tainted property, breaching bail, failing to appear, and contravening domestic violence orders.
Justice Graeme Crow said Anderson's worst offending occurred on March 21, 2016. Armed with a metre-long stick, and accompanied by three others armed with a pickaxe, crowbar and a metal baseball bat, he invaded a Gladstone home in search of money.
He allegedly hit a man across the chest and smashed glasses before telling the home owner he wouldn't leave until he received $1400. The owner retrieved the money from a safe and handed it over.
The next month Anderson ran into the home owner again at his place of business and demanded $500.
The man handed over CCTV footage to police and Anderson was charged.
Anderson's drug dealing activities were revealed by listening advices during a significant police operation which led to 23 charges late last year.
A police raid on his property netted cash, tick sheets and a mobile phone implicating Anderson in the possession, supply and trafficking of methamphetamine and cannabis.
Defence barrister Scott Moon said Anderson was genuinely remorseful and took full responsibility for his past actions. After making mistakes as a young man he had done the right thing for 12 years with a stable job, relationship and a flourishing sporting career before it unravelled.
Over the past two years, he said his client had been a "model prisoner", amassing nine qualifications "to better himself" and working his way up into a prisoner supervisory role within the prison workshop.
Mr Moon said Anderson's lack of sophistication and lower street level dealing should mitigate his trafficking charge and he expressed hope that with time served, his client would be ready for parole.
Given Anderson's advanced age and history of breaching bail conditions, Crown prosecutor Samantha O'Rourke said a jail sentence of six to seven years was justified.
Justice Crow said the need to create a deterrence for Anderson loomed large, especially given his five-page criminal record.
"In your case, violence and drugs are a deadly cocktail and won't be tolerated," he said.
He described the home invasion as a "terrible offence" before detailing the destructive impact on society created by his distribution of ice.
The Justice hoped that Anderson's rehabilitative efforts would continue before providing him with a strong incentive to stay on the straight and narrow.
Given two years already served, Anderson was sentenced to four years' jail for home invasion with the rest of the penalties to be served concurrently.
Justice Crow set a parole release date of September 2.