Drug used as bribe, court told

A YOUNG Ballarat drug dealer tried to bribe nightclub security guards with ecstasy and cash after being refused entry recently, a court has heard.

James Thatcher, 19, initially flashed cash at Bluestone nightclub security guards about 4am on May 25, telling them to “take what you want”.

Refused entry again, Thatcher then produced a bag full of drugs and offered the guards ecstasy, the Ballarat Magistrates Court heard on Monday.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Nathan Watt said Thatcher later ran from police before being caught and searched.

The search found a bag containing 27 pills with cherries stamped on them.

The court heard Thatcher told police the pills were ecstasy and he had been selling them that night for $25 each.

Senior Constable Watt said evidence on Thatcher’s phone also revealed drug trafficking, including messages asking for drugs and amounts to be paid.

Thatcher on Monday pleaded guilty to charges including trafficking ecstasy, possess ecstasy and deal in property suspected of being the proceeds of crime.

Thatcher’s defence lawyer, David Tamanika, said his client, who has no prior convictions for drug offences, succumbed to drug use and then dealing due to his peer group.

“A lot of his friends had been doing the use and sell type thing,” Mr Tamanika said.

“He’s got caught up in what everybody else is doing.”

Mr Tamanika said Thatcher had been offered ecstasy as an 18-year-old, adding it was “a very unfortunate set of circumstances” as to why his client was eventually caught dealing drugs.

Magistrate Cynthia Toose described the offending as “bizarre”, sentencing Thatcher to a 12-month community corrections order. 

Ms Toose agreed with the lawyer that Thatcher’s mitigating circumstances included his young age, secure employment, lack of priors and family support.

Thatcher was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid community work.

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