Police urge jail for alleged drug dealer

A POLICE prosecutor will push for an alleged Warrnambool drug dealer to go to jail if she is found guilty.

However, a high-ranking visiting magistrate initially indicated the accused could be set free, despite her having not heard the contents of three briefs of police evidence.

Nicole Lockwood, 40, previously of Elliott Street, appeared in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday for a contest mention hearing.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Kevin Mullins applied for the case to be set down for a two-day contested hearing, explaining to Victorian deputy chief magistrate Jelena Popovic that Ms Lockwood faced three police briefs — two involving drug trafficking and one containing a number of charges of drug trafficking.

Ms Popovic made preliminary sentencing indications after hearing Ms Lockwood had already spent six weeks in custody. The magistrate said the time in custody would have been a steep learning experience and noted the 40-year-old only had two prior court appearances.

Ms Popovic added that her gut instinct was the case was a “monty” to resolve, saying she would have attempted to craft a sentence which would have allowed Ms Lockwood to remain in the community.

But Senior Constable Mullins resisted an attempt to set down a special mention hearing, saying the prosecution and defence counsel Pat Howman were at loggerheads over the seriousness of Ms Lockwood’s alleged offending.

Senior Constable Mullins said the prosecution would be submitting that a prison term well beyond pre-sentence detention was appropriate, adding that parity was also an issue as other lesser players in Ms Lockwood’s alleged drug ring had been sent to jail already.

The case was booked in for a contested hearing on May 8 and 9, although Ms Popovic said she would be available for a special mention hearing at short notice.