JAIL TIME: Nikolas Shorten was given three months in jail and was banned from driving for six years.
JAIL TIME: Nikolas Shorten was given three months in jail and was banned from driving for six years. Contributed

Moving to Gladdy ends with drug relapse, jail

MOVING to Gladstone was meant to be a fresh start for Nikolas Jake Shorten, instead it became the catalyst for a drug relapse which led to a series of events that landed the 24-year-old behind bars.

Appearing via videolink in Bundaberg Magistrates Court, Shorten pleaded guilty to five charges - two counts of driving while disqualified by a court and one count each of possessing drugs, possessing a weapon and failing to stop.

The court heard that on April 29, Shorten, while disqualified from driving, fuelled up at a Gin Gin fuel station and drove off without paying.

While the fuel was later paid for, police involvement saw Shorten caught out for driving unlicensed.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Grant Klaassen told the court on May 9, police patrolling the Bruce Highway tried to intercept Shorten driving a purple Commodore.

Despite police activating lights and sirens, the 24-year-old sped off at speed.

It was almost a month later when police caught up with Shorten at the Sugarland Tavern, where he was found with a 15cm flick knife.

"He told officers he had it for hunting a few days earlier and had forgotten to take it out of his pocket,” Sen Const Klaassen said.

A pat-down search of Shorten also found 0.1g of methamphetamine in the rim of his hat, the court was told.

But defence lawyer Thomas Bray said his client had a strong work ethic, was previously employed as a sawmill worker for about five years and most recently worked in earthworks.

He said on his release from jail he planned to start a tree-lopping business.

But those plans were on hold while Shorten faced the consequences of his actions.

Mr Bray said his client previously had an issue with ice in the past, which spiralled out of control in 2016, following the death of two close friend in a car crash.

He had however fought those demons and moved to Gladstone with his girlfriend, only to see his relationship breakdown when his his girlfriend started a relationship with his mate.

Taking the breakup badly after discovering his girlfriend was pregnant, Shorten relapsed back into drug use, Mr Bray said.

It was two days later Shorten's offending began, but he'd since realised he'd "stuffed up the situation badly for himself”.

Delivering her sentence, Magistrate Belinda Merrin said although Shorten appeared to have the capacity to hold down a decent job, he continued to make bad decisions.

Having already served 39 days in pre-sentence custody, Shorten was sentenced to a head sentence of three months, suspended after 50 days.

The remainder of the jail term will hang over his head for eight months.

He will also be disqualified from holding or obtaining a drivers licence for six years.



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