A magistrate was not convinced a Ballarat heroin addict's conversion to Buddhism would stop her from allegedly using and selling drugs to community members.
Tanya Benson, who has been in custody since August 29, was refused bail at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
The 41-year-old faces charges of trafficking heroin, possessing heroin and cannabis, and proceeds of crime after police searched her Ballarat home in August.
Police allegedly located 13.76 grams of heroin - more than four times the traffickable quantity - $7410 in cash, 81.29 grams of cannabis, digital scales, numerous snap lock bags and a mobile phone with messages related to trafficking heroin.
The court was told Benson had allegedly started trafficking heroin two days after she was released from jail in September 2018 and she was using two grams of heroin a day.
"In the past she has been selling heroin to support her own habit and in my opinion, she will continue to do so," the nominal police informant said.
I could not imagine any bail conditions that would alleviate police concerns if she was released from jail.Police nominal informant
Defence barrister Amanda Hurst said her client had been using heroin since she was 17 after she was involved in a car accident, resulting in the death of three passengers. Benson suffered a brain injury.
Ms Hurst said Benson had referred herself to Odyssey House, which was the first time she had made a step towards treating her long-standing drug addiction.
She would spend four months on a drug rehabilitation program at Odyssey House, if released on bail.
"She is in her 40s and in her words, she is getting too old for this s**t," Ms Hurst said.
"She is hoping if this (rehabilitation) goes well, she will be moved to another area and get away from her associates."
Ms Hurst said Benson had become a Buddhist and part of that was she could not use illicit drugs, while she had completed numerous programs while in custody.
"If she can go to Odyssey House, it would really reduce the risk of her offending," she said.
"I am asking you to give her a chance."
But magistrate Gregory Robinson questioned whether becoming a Buddhist and reaching an age where the "penny has dropped" would stop Benson's alleged drug offences.
"This is quite a sad case. Given Ms Benson has struggled with this since the age of 17 and given the car accident ... it can be accepted she was more vulnerable to using heroin and became addicted to it than other people would," Mr Robinson said.
"Given her age and her background, including her acquired brain injury, I would accept she demonstrates compelling reasons but I do have to agree the risks are reduced to an acceptable level.
"Trafficking started after being released from jail suggests to me that the risk is too great, that she is not in a position to be trusted where she can go to a facility where she is at liberty to check herself out.
"She has the capacity to inflict a large injury on the people of Ballarat and indeed cause death by overdose."
The magistrate said he was required to refuse bail because Benson posed an unacceptable risk to the safety and wellbeing of the community.
She was remanded in custody until next year.
Benson's parents and daughter supported her in court. The magistrate said this showed they had a view Benson had some prospects to lead a decent life.
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