Love Heart boss David Andre Jules Piccinato was sent to jail for trafficking.
Love Heart boss David Andre Jules Piccinato was sent to jail for trafficking. Jack Tran

Lethal fake weed racket flunky avoids conviction

A STUDENT involved in the lethal Love Heart sex shop synthetic drug racket has been dubbed a victim of a depressed regional economy.

Shyanne Kathleen O'Malley previously worked in Bundaberg's Love Heart shop.

The company's adult novelty stores also operated in Mackay, Toowoomba and Rockhampton.

Brisbane District Court on Friday heard O'Malley, 28, knew the product was dangerous, but sold it anyway and was worried about job security.

She is the latest former Love Heart employee to be sentenced after Love Heart chemical-infused leafy products were blamed for the deaths of two Mackay people in 2015.

On April 12, Love Heart owner David Andre Jules Piccinato, of Melbourne, was jailed for six years.

But O'Malley was at "the very bottom of the supply chain”, Judge Michael Burnett said on Friday.

He said the products were labelled "Godfather” and "Purple Haze”.

Judge Burnett also said O'Malley was threatened with reduced hours when she "confronted” her employer about the products.

Later, she was handed a fake document suggesting the drug was legal.

Judge Burnett said O'Malley "knew the document was dodgy but used it to justify” ongoing sales.

He added: "The economy in Central Queensland has been somewhat depressed now for many years, and employment is difficult, and no doubt those pressures played a significant part...”

The court heard O'Malley aspired to get a government job, and any recorded conviction would hinder that goal.

Prosecutors said six months' probation could be appropriate.

Judge Burnett said little would be achieved adding O'Malley's case to an "already overburdened” probation service.

He said O'Malley had adhered to bail conditions, shown insight, and been studying for university.

Her counsel said the woman had suffered stress and anxiety over "three years beating up on herself”.

After pleading guilty to drug possession and supply, O'Malley was released on a $1000 good behaviour bond which lasts 15 months.

No conviction was recorded.

At least two other shop workers have been sentenced, as has Toowoomba's Ross McGlone, formerly Love Heart operations manager.

A court previously heard the leafy product was sourced from an unknown Gold Coast supplier. - NewsRegional



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