A 23-year-old man who sold drugs at the Rainbow Serpent Festival has had his three-month jail sentence overturned and his conviction wiped from the record.
In January, Kurtis Smith pleaded guilty to trafficking ketamine and ecstasy and was sentenced to three months' jail followed by a 24-month community corrections order.
But on Wednesday, a County Court judge set aside the Ballarat Magistrates Court sentence and placed Smith on a two-year community corrections order, without a conviction.
Smith's defence counsel provided medical reports, letters and documents to the court outlining why he should not be jailed.
Judge Frank Gucciardo said the material showed Smith had started to take steps to rehabilitate, including volunteering and attending counselling.
He said youth mental health organisation headspace had provided a letter to the court, describing Smith as a thoughtful, kind and insightful person.
Smith's father also provided a letter describing Smiths' family support and link to his Japanese culture which had been important in his rehabilitation.
Judge Gucciardo said a conviction would jeopardise Smith's ability to travel overseas where he had the family connection and support.
Not imposing a conviction for you should be an incentive for you to continue the work that you have done.Judge Frank Gucciardo
The judge told Smith selling the drugs to people at the Rainbow Serpent Festival could have been "disastrous, a catastrophe".
The court was provided with two letters from a legal psychologist, who had counselled Smith, and a long letter from Smith outlining his own rehabilitation.
The judge said he took into account Smith's young age and the fact he had no prior offences.
"Agencies have told me he has no risk of re-offending," Judge Gucciardo said.
The magistrates court had been told Smith was arrested at the Rainbow Serpent Festival in January after police saw him remove a substance from his bag and snort it.
Smith ran off when police attempted to speak to him, before being caught and arrested.
When searched, he was carrying seven ziplock bags containing 0.5 grams of ketamine, one bag with 0.25 grams of ketamine and 22 ecstasy capsules with 0.1 grams of the substance in each.
When asked if he had drugs at his campsite, Smith said he did.
Police then undertook a search of the man's tent in the festival campground, where they found 20 ziplock bags of 0.5 grams of ketamine, one blue ecstasy pill and 77 ecstasy capsules containing 0.1 grams.
Smith, of Edithvale, will need to complete 200 hours of unpaid community work and drug treatment and rehabilitation as part of his community corrections order.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.