CHARGED: Burnett Hotel manager Narelle Barnicoat in 2014, when her father purchased the pub.
CHARGED: Burnett Hotel manager Narelle Barnicoat in 2014, when her father purchased the pub. Shirley Way

Publican sentenced after supplying drugs to undercover cops

A NORTH Burnett publican dealt more than 38g of marijuana to covert police officers over three separate occasions earlier this year.

Maryborough Police Criminal Investigation Branch, in conjunction with Gayndah Police acted on information as part of Operation Rowdy that Burnett Hotel publican Narelle Barnicoat was supplying dangerous drugs to patrons.

Gayndah Magistrates Court heard the covert officers asked Barnicoat if she knew where they could "get on", a slang term for buying drugs, and she advised them she could supply them with marijuana.

Barnicoat dealt to the officers in increasing increments: 2.24g, 6.62g, then 29.37g.

When police conducted a search of the premises, Barnicoat advised she was in possession of about 2g of marijuana and a bong she had been using.

She was charged with three counts of supplying dangerous drugs and one count each of possessing dangerous drugs and possessing a used utensil.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Kathryn Stagoll advised the court Barnicoat had a SPER debt of about $2700, and last made a payment in 2017.

Sgt Stagoll said Barnicoat's criminal history was "not the worst" she'd seen, but did contain previous drug offences.

Defence counsel Travis George told the court his client had been smoking marijuana regularly "for as long as she can remember" and tendered results of a clean drug test as evidence Barnicoat had taken the drugs charges "as the wake-up call she needed".

"If you are a long-term user of (marijuana) it stays in your system for up to four to six weeks," Mr George said.

He said Barnicoat was suffering from PTSD, partially brought about by the sudden death of a parent.

Mr George submitted that, if convictions were recorded, it would harm Barnicoat's chances of purchasing the pub from her father, as was her intention through a private loan arrangement.

Under Section 107 of the Liquor Act 1992, to hold a licence, applicants must pass the "fit and proper person" test, which considers convictions within the last five years.

Mr George told the court that, while Barnicoat was facing "serious charges", she was taking "serious steps" to rehabilitate herself.

Sgt Stagoll disagreed with Mr George's submission for no convictions to be recorded, and said while she appreciated the convictions would be detrimental to her future prospects, they were "extremely serious" charges and there needed to be a "huge deterrent", especially in light of her using a licensed premises to conduct the activity.

Mr George countered that there was no commercial aspect to the behaviour and Barnicoat was selling out of her own supply and not making a profit, although earlier the court heard that Barnicoat sold the 2.24g amount for $50.

Barnicoat pleaded guilty to the five drug charges as well as a charge of failing to appear in accordance with an undertaking.

She was sentenced to 18 months' probation for the drug charges but escaped additional punishment from the failure to appear charge.

All convictions were recorded.

South Burnett

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