A police prosecutor has disputed claims a heroin trafficker sold the drugs in the context of gendered relationship power.
Kylie Searle, 40, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Tuesday to trafficking heroin and possessing the proceeds of crime. She was jailed for five months.
The court heard the woman was charged with the offending more than 12 months ago after she was found in possession of eight grams of heroin, which was separated into 32 individual packages weighing .1 grams, two sets of digital scales and $13,100 cash.
Magistrate Mark Stratmann said it was a concerning quantity of drugs to be found in a small town.
"This is almost a small business you had running here, not quite but it's close," he said.
"It is quite a serious matter selling such a dangerous illicit drug in a small town such as Portland."
The court heard that a male co-accused was also charged with the same offending and was jailed for six months.
Sarah Condon, representing Searle, said her client was in a relationship with the co-accused at the time of the offending and that her role in the trafficking operation must be viewed in "the prism of that relationship".
"It must be seen through the power dynamic of that relationship and her role in that operation was reduced compared to that of the co-accused," she said.
But a police prosecutor said the woman had a criminal history that involved similar offending.
"She has the worst of the two in terms of that criminal history and there's nothing to suggest her involvement was to a lower extent," he said.
"Her history being greater than that of the co-accused would tend to show that it's not coming from any level of coercion because she's been involved in this offending for a number of years now."
Ms Condon said Searle had personal circumstances that were "profound and rare" in the circumstances.
Those circumstances were not explored in court however magistrate Mark Stratmann said he accepted the woman had suffered "particular difficulties" throughout her life.
He said the main focus of his sentencing was to defer Searle or anyone else from committing similar offences in the future.
He said drugs were a scourge on small communities and heroin was a particularly dangerous drug.
Searle was jailed for five months and will be released on a 12-month community correction order.
She wept in court as she was taken away by custody officers.
The woman reappeared in the courtroom later that day where she successfully asked the magistrate to free her and was released on appeal bail.
She will appear in the County Court of Victoria for an appeal hearing at a later date.
While on bail, she must not leave Victoria and abide by a 9pm to 7am curfew.
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