A HAMILTON courier caught carrying the drug ice with a potential street value of more than $100,000 has walked from court.
Aaron Peter Atkinson, 34, of Alexandra Parade, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court to trafficking a commercial quantity of crystal methylamphetamine.
He was jailed for the 128 days he had already served in custody and been placed on a three-year community corrections order.
The conditions of the order include that he complete 250 hours of community work and assessment and treatment for drugs and psychological issues.
Atkinson will also have to appear in court every three months for judicial monitoring.
Judge Liz Gaynor said it was serious offending and couriers could only expect to receive a term of imprisonment when caught.
She said Atkinson quickly became addicted to ice, was to be paid for couriering drugs, was generally vulnerable because of a learning difficulty and she was reluctant to return him to jail because of the gains he had made since being released on bail.
The judge described Atkinson's prospects of rehabilitation as positive and he was a medium risk of reoffending.
She said the time he served in custody had been onerous because the remand centre had been in lock down after prison riots.
Crown prosecutor David O'Doherty said that at 1.20am on October 8 last year police officers were patrolling Hamilton's Bree Road when they pulled over a Mitsubishi ute driven by Atkinson.
They found 33.7 grams of cannabis in the ute, arrested Atkinson and took him back to the Hamilton police station.
At the station they found 138.8 grams of ice in a sock he was wearing, which was 78 per cent pure.
The amount of pure ice was 109.7 grams just over the 100 gram threshold for trafficking a commercial quantity of ice.
That charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.
Defence counsel Leonard Harnett said his client was just a smidgen over the threshold for trafficking a commercial quantity of ice.
He said when arrested Atkinson was crying uncontrollably.
Mr Hartnett said his client met people at a hotel who introduced him to ice and he was soon spending $1000 a week on his new habit.
Atkinson was asked a number of times to act as a courier, resisted those approaches, but eventually relented and was caught.
He has completed a month-long rehabilitation since being released on bail and is taking other steps to address his drug use issues.