Drug addict bailed for rehab

A SELF-CONFESSED drug addict found growing cannabis during a police raid last week has been allowed bail to undergo treatment at a rehabilitation centre.

Joel Raymond McGowan, 26, of Moore Park Beach, was caught with 12 cannabis plants, 40.5g of cannabis leaf and a water pipe when his home was raided on Friday.

Later that day, McGowan indicated in Bundaberg Magistrates Court he would plead guilty to charges including producing and possessing dangerous drugs and possessing a utensil, which would be heard in the Supreme Court.

The hearing was adjourned until yesterday so the defence could inquire about rehabilitation for McGowan, who is a long-standing drug user.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Robyn Shapcott yesterday told the court the prosecution was agreeable to bail as long as “certain conditions” were imposed.

Defence lawyer Rian Dwyer said he had made inquiries with a Hervey Bay rehabilitation centre, which had indicated McGowan was a suitable candidate for treatment.

The program requires the patient to be drug free for seven days prior to starting.

Mr Dwyer asked that McGowan be allowed to live with his sister in Avoca for those seven days until he could begin treatment.

Sgt Shapcott said the prosecution would ask for McGowan’s bail to be revoked if he took drugs or left the rehabilitation program.

“Seven days can be a long time for someone in his position,” she said.

The defendant sat sobbing in the docks through the proceedings and buried his head in his hands several times.

Magistrate Jennifer Batts allowed McGowan’s bail on several conditions, including he not consume any drugs, live with his sister until the program begins, comply with the rehabilitation program and authorise the centre to advise police if he leaves the program for any reason.

“I consider you are not an unacceptable risk with these conditions of bail,” Ms Batts said.

“It is very much in your best interest to comply with this before the matters are ultimately dealt with.”

The matter will be mentioned again on December 20, with the matter expected to be finalised next year at the Bundaberg Supreme Court sittings.

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