Charlie Ann Wells is sentenced to four years in jail for trafficking methamphetamines.
Charlie Ann Wells is sentenced to four years in jail for trafficking methamphetamines.

She did everything right, then someone offered her meth

CHARLIE Wells blew her mother and brother a kiss as she was lead out of Rockhampton Supreme Court and back to jail where she'd already spent the past year.

The 25-year-old was hopeful of having her sentence suspended today, but Justice Graeme Crow quashed those hopes and Wells is back at the Capricornia Correction Centre.

Justice Crow called it a "repetitive situation" where a young person who was doing so well in life had transitioned into criminal behaviour.

Wells had a good upbringing, finished grade 12 at Tannum Sands High School and found a job straight after school.

Her mother said as a teenager she was responsible and worked three jobs while she was in high school.

But at 22, after a miscarriage and with her relationship on the rocks, Wells was offered methamphetamine to "help pick her back up".

Within months she had a serious habit and within six months she'd lost her job.

It began a downward spiral into crime in order to pay the rent, meet car payments and feed her habit.

This morning, she pleaded guilty to 33 charges, including the most serious of trafficking dangerous drugs.

 

 

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It wasn't the first time Wells had been convicted for drug offences. Her history showed she was was on probation when she was charged in December last year.

Defence barrister, Tom Polley attempted to have her released immediately on a suspended sentence.

He said while deterrence was called for, "(prison) really does nothing for young people who are addicted to this drug".

A frustrated Justice Crow said the courts had been trying to deter people from taking methamphetamines for 10 years.

"It's just not working ...it's a disaster," he said.

"This is a repetitive story - a young woman doing so well in life.

"It's a sad, sad case that ... some idiot has offered her this drug."

Crown prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence said the charges showed Wells hadn't addressed her problem or been deterred by past court orders.

"The defendant is in this position by way of her own conduct and no-one else's," she said.

Wells had previously been convicted after two raids on her Gladstone home in 2016.

She was given probation and no conviction was recorded. Justice Crow told her that was her chance, but she hadn't taken it.

Then on December 17 last year, during a random breath test, police searched her car and found a knife, tick sheets containing the names of customers and a phone which revealed Facebook conversations and texts that referred to supplying .2g of methamphetamines for $150.

She declined an interview at the police station and was charged.

 

Charlie Ann Wells is sentenced to four years in jail for trafficking methamphetamines.
Charlie Ann Wells is sentenced to four years in jail for trafficking methamphetamines.

Evidence showed Wells had sourced amounts from 0.5 to 28gm of the drug and travelled to Brisbane once a week to meet suppliers.

Three raids since 2016 had uncovered drugs, cash, utensils and ammunition.

The court heard that over a five month and 12 day period, Wells had sold 68gm of methamphetamine, mainly at street level.

The maximum sentence for selling 2gm of methamphetamine is 25 years in prison and in sentencing Wells, Justice Crow told her she needed to understand the seriousness of her position.

He acknowledged her motivation was not to fund a lavish lifestyle but to survive and feed her own habit.

He also accepted she had cooperated with police and assisted them with further investigations.

"You are not the big fish ... young offenders are generally given a chance but you clearly didn't take that chance," he said.

Wells was sentenced to four years in prison. She's already served 347 days and will be released on parole on April 16, 2019.

Outside the courtroom, Wells' mother, Staceey Layt said people like her daughter were victims too.

"No-one is above it ... she was the eldest daughter who always took charge, she was always the responsible one," she said.

Ms Layt was confident Wells could be rehabilitated but said it was difficult when it took at least three months just to get an appointment in public rehab.

A $14 million, 42-bed ice rehabilitation centre is planned to open in Rockhampton in 2021.

Mr Polley said it was good to see it happening but it was long overdue and other areas were also crying out for a similar service.

"The ice epidemic is just out of control," he said.

"Ice is so addictive that good people fall really quickly.

"It's not just young people. I've seen people working out at the mines getting something just to help them through the night and within three months they are well and truly addicted.

"There needs to be a lot more education as well as rehab."