Dad sentenced to jail time as partner goes into labour

AS HIS partner went into labour, Shane Nicholas Whittaker was told he would spend the first 15 months of his child's life behind bars.

The 30-year-old man pleaded guilty to a series of charges, including four counts of possessing drugs in excess of two grams and seven counts of possessing a dangerous drug, when he appeared via video link in Maryborough Supreme Court on Monday.

Crown prosecutor Caroline Marco said a raid was carried out at Whittaker's home in March, 2019.

He tried to leave the property in a car, but was stopped by police, she said.

During the search, police discovered Whittaker had $1540 on him, as well as more than 3g of pure meth in nine clip seal bags.

Marijuana and scales were also found in the raid.

Whittaker was released on bail after being charged with offences relating to the raid.

Two months later, in May, police carried out a second raid at his home.

This time they found more than 30g of pure meth in the bathroom along with $300 in cash.

In Whittaker's car they found 6g of pure meth.

Cocaine and MDMA tablets were also found during the raid.

Scales and a heat sealer were found, as well as more cash in the amounts of $4350, $300 and $550.

Testosterone and human growth hormone supplements were also found.

Ms Marco said Whittaker had not just continued offending while he was on bail, the scale of his crimes had escalated by the time of the second raid.

Defence barrister Catherine Morgan said Whittaker had a longstanding drug addiction.

She said the COVID-19 prison restrictions were onerous and had meant time spent in isolation, no visits and little opportunity for exercise.

Ms Morgan said there had been a tense environment at the prison and isolation had been necessary because of fighting within the unit as a result of overcrowding.

She said her client had three children, with another on the way.

Whittaker told the court he had received a phone call informing him his partner had gone into labour that morning.

"He loves his children," Ms Morgan said.

The court heard Whittaker had spent 79 days in pre-sentence custody.

Judge Ann Lyons gave Whittaker a head sentence of four-and-a-half years in prison.

A parole eligibility date was set for November 9, 2021.


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