Drugs drive man's descent into jail

A CAMPERDOWN man who was shot in the hand because of his connection to the drug world has been jailed.

Geoffrey Pennell, 29, of Lawrence Street, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court this week to 20 charges including theft, using false documents, burglary, criminal damage, obtaining property by deception and failing to appear in court.

Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said Pennell’s drug-related offences had been a burden on the community and caused a great deal of stress to many people. 

He said Pennell’s history over more than a decade showed he had utterly failed to demonstrate any commitment to changing his behaviour or to settle his obligations. He said he was not prepared to be lenient just because it was Pennell’s first time in custody or he had seen the light.

“Yes, jail is an unpleasant place — it’s supposed to be,” the magistrate said.

The court heard that in September last year Pennell and an unknown co-accused used forged prescriptions to obtain OxyContin, and in October last year Pennell and another offender broke into the Cobden Pharmacy. He was bailed to appear in November but failed to comply with the conditions.

In February last year Pennell was twice caught by police driving an unregistered vehicle and driving a vehicle without an alcohol interlock device while on his L plates.

Defence counsel Xavier Farrelly said it had been become increasingly apparent to Pennell that the life he was leading was heading towards incarceration, or would be dramatically cut short.

He said Pennell began using serious drugs after he left school in year 10. He worked from 2007 to 2012 to maintain his addiction.

Mr Farrelly said the day after the Cobden burglary Pennell was shot through the hand by an unknown male and since being in custody had been assaulted.

On the criminal charges Pennell was convicted and sentenced to 13 months’  jail, including the 33 days already served, with a non-parole period of three months.

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