1491887592746 - Meth dealer gets ‘almost unprecedented’ sentence discount after turning life around

Meth dealer gets ‘almost unprecedented’ sentence discount after turning life around

A woman who was busted in a methamphetamine raid at a Nelson motel with her young daughter has been handed an “almost unprecedented” sentence discount after overcoming her drug addiction.

Jamie Lee Weiss was sentenced in the Nelson District Court on Tuesday having pleaded guilty to 22 charges, mostly related to using and dealing methamphetamine and cannabis.

The charges included supplying and offering to sell cannabis and methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine for supply, and possession of drug utensils and knives.

Weiss was busted by police during a raid of a motel room in Nelson on January 5 last year.

READ MORE: Child found in motel meth raid

She was with her daughter, who is now nine, and a man who was trying to buy cannabis from her.

Police found 10 grams of methamphetamine, $3180 in cash, a notebook which contained a “tick list” of debts owed and payments made, a glass pipe, and 15 grams of cannabis.

Police also obtained text messages sent by Weiss offering to sell methamphetamine in various amounts.

In April last year, while on bail for the earlier offending, Weiss and her former partner were arrested after police found methamphetamine in their vehicle.

Police later found 40.7 grams of methamphetamine, worth about $20,000, hidden in Weiss’ underwear.

Weiss told police that she smoked about a gram of methamphetamine a day. The rest was sold to other users.

The Crown said Weiss was a high level commercial dealer.

Weiss pleaded guilty to all charges in August last year following a sentencing indication from Judge David Ruth of between four years, six months’ and five years, three months’ imprisonment.

In a rare move, Judge Ruth granted Weiss electronic bail to attend drug rehabilitation clinics in Auckland.

She had been in custody for six months prior to getting bail.

Defence lawyer Craig Stevenson said that Weiss has completed six months of rehabilitation and passed every random drug test.

“It would seem she has significant motivation to remain abstinent.”

Weiss was already entitled to a 25 per cent discount to her sentence for her early guilty plea. 

Stevenson submitted that she be awarded a further 35 per cent discount for completing rehabilitation.

Crown prosecutor Jamie Crawford said a discount of 15 per cent for rehabilitation would be more appropriate.

In previous cases, courts have granted between 15 and 20 per cent discounts for rehabilitation. 

Judge Ruth said he had received several reports from staff at the clinics Weiss attended.

“You have excelled in everything you’ve tried to do here and indeed I think it’s fair to say that, in the prison environment, it is likely you’ll be a valuable person in terms of imparting what you have achieved and learned,” he said.

“I think that you need to be given an appropriate acknowledgement of all of that.”

Judge Ruth said that he and Weiss have been “effectively in a bargain” during the court process.

“My part of the bargain has been to offer you a discount that hopefully incentivised your rehabilitation. If that has happened that gives me considerable comfort notwithstanding the views of higher courts in these cases.”

Judge Ruth granted Weiss a 35 per cent discount for her rehabilitation efforts, reaching a prison sentence of two years and nine months.

Stevenson said the court’s approach to the Weiss case – granting bail to attend rehab and such a significant discount – was “almost unprecedented”.

“It is a little unusual, but suited the circumstances,” he said.

“She’s been something of an exception to the rule.”