Drug trafficking mum gets ‘lenient’ sentence amid virus fears
Failing health conditions and the threat of coronavirus was enough to convince a Townsville judge to be "lenient" on a mother who was dealing drugs to high school students with her teenage daughter.
Tania Rose Forrest, 45, pleaded guilty at Townsville Supreme Court on Wednesday to drug trafficking that could have potentially involved more than $15,000 income for the pair from the end of 2016 until November 2017.
Despite the serious offending, the Honourable Justice David North sentenced the woman to be immediately released on parole after saying the women's prison was becoming crowded and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak might take a hit to her osteoarthritis and asthma.
The South Townsville woman's drug dealing operation "snowballed" into popularity after her daughter, Tealia Rose Forrest, was approached by their neighbour in late 2016.
Tania Forrest, who played a lesser role than her daughter, had phone records that showed she sold marijuana to at least 22 people on 34 occasions across seven weeks when police busted her.
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The court heard the marijuana sales varied from 1.5g to 3.5g and pulled in a profit of $2245 over the seven-week period on police records.
They became concerned about dealing drugs with high school children and backed off, but Justice North said the pair realised the serious nature of their actions.
"She knew it would attract the heat," Justice North said.
Crown prosecutor Joshua Francis said Tania Forrest should have been a role model for her child who was sentenced to a three-year jail term on Monday for her part.
Tealia Forrest pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and supply, where she was busted also selling LSD and Xanax on some occasions.
"Being a mother and adult figure in the house, she has influence and authority over her … who should have been acting as a role model for her child," he said.
Tania Forrest, who hobbled into court on crutches, took strong medication to ease the pain of severe osteoarthritis in her left knee, was an asthmatic and "morbidly obese".
Justice North referred to this health issues when sentencing Tania Forrest to two-and-a-half years' jail to be released on parole yesterday.
"This is quite a lenient sentence structure," he said.
"In the circumstances, taking into account your health complications together with the current environment of the virus, it has persuaded me that this particular leniency should be exercised at the moment."
Convictions were recorded.
Originally published as Drug trafficking mum gets 'lenient' sentence amid virus fears