A preschool teacher’s determination to turn her life around after succumbing to addiction is the sole reason she avoided jail for a string of serious drug dealing and stolen ID offences, a court has heard.
Louise Tomlinson, 33, faced Sutherland Local Court on Tuesday, where she was sentenced for supplying 400g of liquid ecstasy GHB and a gram of crystal meth — as well as hindering police and illegally possessing documents.
According to agreed facts tendered to court, police approached Tomlinson outside her house in the south Sydney suburb of Carlton on January 27 as she took out three large bags from a car.
Inside the bags and her home, they found credit cards, Medicare cards, a laptop, bottles of GHB, ledgers about credit cards, photo ID and drug paraphernalia.
During another incident on December 6, police watched Tomlinson get out of a parked white bus and put a Woolworths bag into a parked Uber. Officers stopped the Uber driver and found GHB and meth inside the bag.
According to the facts, police forcibly restrained Tomlinson after she resisted being handcuffed and erratically moved her arms around.
She was initially refused bail and spent 45 days in custody.
Tomlinson pleaded guilty to the offences and was in March ordered to move from jail to full-time rehabilitation to address her drug addiction.
On Tuesday, Magistrate Hugh Donnelly said he would ordinarily jail someone for supplying more than eight times the indictable quantity of GHB and committing crimes that were clearly for the purpose of financial gain, but her rehabilitation efforts caused him to instead impose a community-based sentence.
Tomlinson’s defence lawyer David Newham said Tomlinson had “a deep history” and “vicious cycle” of drug addiction, so she needed to go to an isolated rehabilitation centre near Canberra where she ”faced her demons”.
“She knows the fall from grace she’s had as drugs have taken over … (but) her smile is back, her skin is clean. She’s never had this intervention and she’s surprised herself”.
The court heard Tomlinson had kept up with a strict schedule of 14-hour days at rehab, where Magistrate Donnelly ordered her to complete another seven months to equal a full year spent there.
The mother was supported in court by her mother and partner, who held her hand throughout the proceedings.
The court heard Tomlinson had a successful career in childcare before committing these offences, being in charge of a centre in Eastlakes from the age of 25.
Magistrate Donnelly said that while the offences were serious, she had received “an A+” at rehabilitation.
“We know it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” he said.
“From the court’s point of view it’s a path you should be putting yourself on. Had you not done this rehabilitation you’d be in full-time custody”.
For supplying more than an indictable amount of drugs, Tomlinson was sentenced to an 18-month intensive correction order (ICO) with supervision from community corrections.
For two counts of supplying a small quantity of a prohibited drug, she was sentenced to a four-month ICO and six-month community correction order (CCO).
She was handed two 12-month CCOs for two counts of possessing identity information to commit an indictable offence, and a six-month CCO for hindering or resisting a police officer in the execution of their duty.
She received an 18-month conditional release order (CRO) for possessing a prohibited drug.
For the duration of her orders, which will be served concurrently, Tomlinson must not commit any further offences, continue rehabilitation, undergo drug and alcohol counselling and abstain from illicit drugs.