What started out as a minor drug charge has turned into a world of pain for a young offender.
What started out as a minor drug charge has turned into a world of pain for a young offender.

Minor drug matter takes turn after high speed police chase

WHAT started out as a minor drug charge has turned into a world of pain for a young offender.

Suzanne Lorraine Warden, 21, faced the Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday on the basis of two charges, including the unlawful possession of drug utensils and failure to appear in accordance with undertaking.

Warden was requested to attend court after police executed a search warrant at her place of residence in January, where a glass pipe and grinder were found.

The 21-year-old defendant admitted the utensils belonged to her and told police that she smokes marijuana to assist with her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

But matters took a turn for the worse when Warden failed to appear in court on March 18.

The court heard Warden was unable to make an appearance as she had been incarcerated in South Australia at the time.

After meeting a man who had convinced her to accompany him on a trip to South Australia and unaware of his criminal history, Warden was a passenger in his car and became caught up in a high speed police pursuit following a routine inspection.

When police caught the pair, Warden lied about her identity and reasons for being in South Australia and despite pleading not guilty, spent nine months and 21 days in custody.

She was also required to stay in South Australia and await her trial date.

The court heard Warden felt confronted and devastated by the situation and although she accepts she has been convicted lawfully by the court, maintains her innocence.

She admitted that agreeing to go on the trip was the biggest mistake she had ever made in her life.

Warden's lawyer said steps had been taken in South Australia to review the decision and requested the Magistrate treat her as a first-time offender given the situation.

Magistrate Terry Duroux said the circumstances were very unusual and as she had a spent a long time in custody sorting out the incident in South Australia and had no criminal history prior, he would be lenient when dealing with her drug utensil offence.

Warden was fined $200 for possessing drug utensils, the items were forfeited and she was fined an additional $400 for failure to appear. No conviction was recorded.


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