A WILY veteran magistrate has thwarted a drug dealer’s attempts to avoid serving an immediate jail term and locked him up for even longer.
Teira Ripohau, 27, of Curdies Street, Cobden, appeared in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court for a contest mention hearing this week charged with trafficking ice and breaching a community corrections order that was imposed for drug dealing.
Magistrate Ron Saines gave Ripohau a sentencing indication and said because of the accused's prior court convictions only an immediate term of imprisonment was appropriate.
He said it was the second time he had breached a CCO and the second time Ripohau had been caught drug trafficking in a short time.
He had only been on a CCO for trafficking ice for a month before he was caught again.
The magistrate said the case was about how long Ripohau would be jailed for, not if he would be jailed, but pleading guilty would reduce the term of the jail sentence.
Solicitor Xavier Farrelly accepted the indication on behalf of Ripohau and he was jailed for three months.
Mr Saines said a corrections order was a last opportunity before a jail term was imposed.
He said Ripohau had failed to turn up or cooperate, when he did turn up he abused corrections staff and then breached the order by more offending.
“In terms of breaching a community corrections order it does not get much more serious than that,” Mr Saines said.
The magistrate said trafficking meth amphetamine was punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment and this was the second time Ripohau was to be sentenced for such offending.
He said Ripohau had not been dealing over a substantial time or in substantial amounts and he was now pleading guilty.
He imposed a three-month jail term but said if Ripohau had unsuccessfully contested the charges he would have been jailed for eight months.
Mr Saines warned Ripohau if he returned to court charged with trafficking his next sentence would be counted in years not months.
Ripohau also had to complete an 18-month CCO on release from prison with conditions including community work, assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and programs for his drug use.
But, in a stunning move Ripohau almost immediately appealed against the severity of the jail term and applied for appeal bail.
The magistrate was clearly less than happy.
Mr Saines rejected the bail application and remanded Ripohau in custody, adjourning the appeal until the Warrnambool County Court circuit starting on June 4.
By that time Ripohau will have already served his three months in custody.
It's expected that Ripohau will drop his appeal.
During the hearing of the case police said they arrested a woman in January and found a large number of text messages between her and Ripohau swapped during late December.
Those messages included a price list - $1000 for an eightball of ice, $750 for a half ball, $500 for a gram and two points for $120.
A drop-off was arranged.
Ripohau said his phone was used by his sister Kayla, who has previously been jailed for trafficking drugs.
The other woman who had exchanged the text messages has also been dealt with in court for her offending.
An Office Of Corrections staff member said Ripohau had abused staff and told them he wouldn’t do any community work as part of his community corrections order.
But, last week Ripohau was in court to have fines converted to community work and that order was to start this week.
Mr Farrelly said his client started using ice when he was 22 but that use had ramped up after the death of his grandparents last year.