The judge said community safety had to be considered when sentencing drug trafficker Andrew Bell.
The judge said community safety had to be considered when sentencing drug trafficker Andrew Bell. John Weekes

'Easily led' thief must face up to bad deeds

A "DREADFUL” criminal history wrecked a thief and drug trafficker's chances at freedom.

Andrew Simon Bell, 47, made news last year when jurors found him guilty of planning a cabinet-smashing jewellery store heist in Nambour.

On Monday, he faced charges at Brisbane Supreme Court of theft and drug offences at places including Montville and Wacol.

He pleaded guilty to trafficking ice and stealing registration plates.

The court heard Bell had a dysfunctional childhood, and people who were supposed to take care of him at a boy's home allegedly mistreated him.

Defence counsel Simone Bain said Bell had diligently held down paid prison work as a cleaner and been a positive influence on other inmates.

She also said he had a brain injury.

Prosecutor David Nardone said Bell faced drug charges after AFP and Queensland Police Service operations targeting the drug trade.

Bell had already been in custody for about three years.

Justice David Boddice said Bell was "easily led” and vulnerable because of an intellectual impairment.

But the judge said that argument could only go so far - and Bell must own up to a "dreadful” history of drug offending and violent crime.

"His history has been so bad, he has to serve something extra.”

The judge said Bell squandered several shots at redemption over the years, with bouts of offending in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia.

Justice Boddice said even if being "generous”, a suspended sentence could not be imposed.

He said Bell was trafficking "at both a street and wholesale level” for about four months in 2015.

Bell and his girlfriend both provided letters to the judge.

Justice Boddice told Bell his partner "almost needs a medal for standing by you in all the circumstances”.

Bell was also sentenced for possessing the opioid buprenorphine while locked up in Wacol.

The drug is used for conditions including heroin and methadone dependence.

Bell was sentenced to four years' jail but is eligible for parole on June 10 next year.

- NewsRegional



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