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Alleged dealer faces jail time

Saturday, 23rd May, 2015

By Craig Brealey

A 37-year-old man who was on trial for dealing in amphetamines has been told he is going to jail.

Benjamin James Karkoe was found guilty in the District Court yesterday of supplying a prohibited drug and is now on bail awaiting sentence.

Karkoe had told the court that the 97.4 grams of amphetamine in his possession was for his own use only and that he did not sell it.

He also said that $2655 in cash found in his Chapple Street home by police came from selling restored cars, opals and gold and that the security cameras and monitors were to protect his valuable possessions.

But Judge Stephen Norrish said that no opals were found when police raided his house on August 1, 2013 and the quantity of drugs was “unlikely” to be for personal use.

Karkoe said that he smoked only small amounts every day and that he had bought the drug in bulk for $7000 to save him having to go out regularly to buy it.

But the judge calculated that even if he took half a gram a day, his supply would have lasted him 194 days.

“A millionaire might buy a pound of cocaine,” said Judge Norrish, but it seemed very unlikely that Karkoe, a self-employed man, would spend so much of his income for the convenience of having a handy supply.

The security system, the five mobile phones and two sets of electronic scales seized by police, and the fact that the drugs and some of the cash was hidden  also pointed to either “past supply or future supply” of drugs, the judge said.

“I can find no compelling evidence to convince me of an innocent purpose,” Judge Norrish said.

Karkoe represented himself at the trial and the judge told him that he would have been better served by a lawyer.

“A person representing themselves cannot do justice to themselves...” he said.

Judge Norrish advised him to seek legal advice before being sentenced on July 24.

“The likelihood of a prison term is inevitable,” he said. 

Karkoe was ordered to surrender his passport and to report to police three times a week.

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