Liquid nicotine 'poison' lands man in court
SETTING up his online e-cigarette business, Benjamin Vittle did not set out to do anything illegal but fell foul of the law when found with regulated poison - liquid nicotine.
Bundaberg Magistrates Court was told the business that sold Vittle the liquid, as a rival, may have informed police.
It all turned out well for the young man when Magistrate Belinda Merrin found in his favour.
Vittle, 26, pleaded guilty to a health regulations charge that a person must not dispense, manufacture, obtain, possess, prescribe, sell or use a regulated poison unless under an approval.
Prosecutor Senior Constable Grant Klaassen said police went to Vittle's home at Bargara on August 16.
Two bottles were found, one holding 50ml or clear liquid and the other with 40ml of clear liquid - nicotine mixed with a flavour for e-cigarettes.
Vittle told police he stopped using the liquid after finding out it was illegal and tried to dispose of it through a pharmacy but staff refused to take it.
Defence lawyer Craig Ryan said Vittle purchased the liquid lawfully from a store and had the receipt but at the time had not known it was unlawful.
He intended to use the nicotine in setting up his online business selling e-cigarettes until becoming aware it wasn't legal.
"He tried to get his money back from the store but it refused," Mr Ryan said.
"He believes they gave the information to police as they were in direct competition online."
Mr Ryan said it was illegal to dispose of nicotine incorrectly so Vittle had sought online advice through Queensland Health and tried to surrender it to a pharmacy.
He said that left Vittle in a quandary about what to do with it and he simply put the nicotine in a cupboard, intending to use it personally as there was no other way to dispose of it lawfully.
Mr Ryan said Vittle had to be regulated to sell online e-cigarettes and genuinely purchased the liquid thinking it was legal.
Ms Merrin said it may well be that the people who sold him the nicotine liquid had also given information to police.
She accepted Vittle was of good character with no criminal history and had tried to return the liquid and made other efforts to dispose of it.
Accepting the circumstances in which the offence took place, Ms Merrin said it was appropriate to "relieve you absolutely" of the charge.
With no offence against Vittle, Ms Merrin ordered the disposal of the regulated poison.