A man will be required to spend more time in prison to complete a one-month sentence he received at court on Thursday for repeated drug driving and petrol theft.
Simon Jay Cox appeared via video link from custody to the Ballarat Magistrates' Court to plead guilty to the charges.
Police lawyer Jenna Bridges said Cox was caught drug driving three times in October and November 2020 with methylamphetamine and cannabis in his system.
In April and May 2021 he committed four petrol drive offs at service stations across Ballarat, totalling more than $300 worth of stolen fuel.
Cox was arrested on May 17 when police saw him sitting in a car outside Centrelink in Ballarat with stolen number plates attached.
This is a man who had no prior work history so getting that job and abstaining from drugs was significant for him.Defence lawyer
A defence lawyer said Cox's 23 days spent in custody had been burdensome because 19 of those were in isolation due to COVID-19 protocols.
She asked Magistrate Letizia Torres to take this into account in sentencing.
The lawyer said Cox had previously served a three year term of imprisonment and was released in May 2019.
She said his criminal history was related to significant drug use but he had been able to abstain from drug use for a year-and-a-half after his release.
The court heard Cox completed a civil construction course after his release and worked in labouring but lost that job when COVID-19 hit last year.
The lawyer said COVID-19 lockdowns meant he could no longer go to the gym, which had helped him re-integrate into the community after his release from prison.
"Some of those protective factors were taken away from him due to the pandemic," she said.
"This is a man who had no prior work history so getting that job and abstaining from drugs was significant for him.
"In October 2020 he returned to using drugs after his grandparents passed away in quick succession.
"He instructed that he was using heavily until May when he was arrested."
The court heard Cox had now been drug-free for 23 days while in custody and could return to living with his girlfriend in Ballarat upon his release.
Magistrate Letizia Torres said Cox had an 'extensive' criminal history involving drugs and dishonesty.
"Although this offending was a de-escalation from previous offending, it looked like it was ramping up," she said.
"There were drugs, driving, stealing and stolen number plates."
Cox was sentenced to one months' imprisonment and he was disqualified from driving for one year.
"It is really important you continue the progress you made when you first got out of jail in 2019," Ms Torres said.
"It is really hard to re-integrate into the community after a long jail term. It looks like you can do it.
"You have to understand there will be misfortunes in life but you can't go back to ice every time.
"You have to find other ways to deal with it."
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