Police find dangerous driver’s drug growing handbook
POLICE found happy snaps of cannabis plants growing in a shed when they examined the phone of a man who crashed his vehicle while he had ice in his system.
To cap it off police also found a PDF download of a how to grow drugs guide called 'the Complete Recreational Drugs Handbook'.
The finding led to a police raid at Lloyd Bethel's home, and further criminal charges.
Bethel was told to thank his lucky stars when he narrowly avoided jail.
Appearing before Ipswich Magistrates Court, Lloyd Jacobus Bethel, 28, a tradesman from Redbank Plains, pleaded guilty to nine charges including producing dangerous drugs; possession of anything used in a drug crime; possession of instructions for producing dangerous drugs; dangerous operation of a motor vehicle; drink driving, three counts of driving when drug positive; and contravening a police direction.
The drug drive offences occurred on November 26; and again this year on January 28 and March 8.
Prosecutor Sergeant Rose Molinaro said the dangerous driving offences included an accident where Bethel was driving a Mercedes Benz, which he crashed on the Ipswich Motorway.
Witnesses said the driver suddenly swerved and the Benz crashed into a barrier.
Bethel was taken to hospital and a blood test revealed methylamphetamine, MDA, and cannabis in his system.
Sgt Molinaro said Bethel was convicted in Ipswich District Court in 2018 for trafficking cannabis.
Sgt Molinaro said his second dangerous drive offence on November 26 involved speeding in excess of 100km on Augusta Parkway.
Bethel clipped the concrete kerb of a roundabout and flipped the vehicle several times.
Sgt Molinaro said the out of control Toyota Landcruiser narrowly missed a jogger who stopped running when he saw the vehicle approach at speed.
Bethel, who was injured and in pain, tested positive to alcohol, and to both amphetamine and methylamphetamine.
Defence lawyer Bradley Munt said Bethel had been detained by police after being found in a car with a knife.
His $1000 iPhone was seized and later examined with the incriminating material found.
Mr Munt said Bethel toyed with the idea to set up a homegrown cannabis production "as an intellectual exercise".
"He did it as he did not want to get involved in any trafficking," he said.
"It was not a successful exercise."
Mr Munt said the November 26 crash happened after Bethel drank some alcohol at home with no intention to drive. After arguing with a resident he was upset and decided to go for a drive.
"He sees himself as being a recreational user of meth. Only enough for him to use," Mr Munt said.
"The only evidence (of the cannabis plants) were the videos he posted on social media that his friends saw."
"It was rather a foolish thing to do, " Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said.
Mr Munt said the production didn't work and the equipment was long gone when police searched the shed on November 27.
Ms Sturgess noted the handbook he had downloaded on producing drugs included not only cannabis but heroin, ice, MDMA and crack cocaine.
"Referring to it (smoking ice) as being recreational use is a load of rubbish," Ms Sturgess said. "Methylamphetamine is a very serious drug that causes a great deal of harm in the community."
She said he would be given one more opportunity to complete drug rehabilitation.
Bethel was sentenced to a 12-month jail term, immediately suspended for three years.
He received a jail term of 12 months for the dangerous driving, was placed on an 18-month probation order, and received lesser sentences on other charges.
"You have done a bunch of stupid things. You can thank your lucky stars but you have run out of opportunities," Ms Sturgess said.
Bethel was disqualified from driving for more than three years. He can apply after two years to have his licence returned.