An aspiring 18-year-old nurse who internally concealed nearly 400 MDMA tablets at a music festival where a man died avoided imprisonment again despite an appeal against her non-custodial sentence.
Police discovered the caps on Tina Thanh Truc Phan after a dog sighting at the Knockout Games of Destiny dance festival at the Sydney Olympic Park in December.
In January, Phan was placed in a 12-month community corrections order, including 80 hours of community service. But police said the community service was very tolerant.
Appearing today in Parramatta District Court in western Sydney, Phan received a more severe community verdict – avoiding a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
However, while he delivered his judgment, Judge Delaney attacked the system used by high-level drug traffickers to protect himself from the law – saying that the scourge of drug deaths at music festivals "is likely to continue."
"Drug dealers, directly or through intermediaries, recruit young people who, for financial gain or for the purchase of drugs, agree to take drugs at these places to sell them, or place them near places so that others can access them with a lower risk. detection, "he said.
"The recruits are usually young, usually of international or interstate origin, with no criminal record.
"Those who recruit them know that … few, if any, will spend time in prison. Few, if any, provide evidence of the origin of drugs and how and by whom they were recruited.
"They seem to be able to tell the police that the drugs were for their own use or to give to their friends."
In January, the court heard that Phan was an excellent student who had just finished her HSC and was hoping to go to Sydney University of Technology, to study bachelors in nursing, and that she played the role of Oz Tag and did cross country.
"In this case, the respondent was a very young woman with no prior criminal convictions," interim judge Delaney told the court today.
"She is an intelligent young woman who claims to have been recruited by a person she would not identify. She had the drugs to sell for financial gain, not to use them.
However, at the January hearing, Judge Louise McManus said that Phan's act of smuggling the 394 capsules internally was "a criminal offense and a deliberate act."
"You're not an unintelligent young woman and you want to get into a career where you're taking care of people," McManus told Phan.
"This is not just an immature or silly mistake, it was a criminal act that put people at risk."
On December 8 last year, police arrested five festival goers, including Phan, accused of drugs at the Knockout Games of Destiny at the Sydney Olympic Park.
Callum Brosnan, 19, was found fainted at the Sydney Olympic Park train station early Sunday morning after the festival.
He was taken to Concord Hospital, where he died at 4:30 a.m. of a suspected drug overdose.
Police have not publicly revealed Brosnan's cause of death and it is not suggested that he has taken drugs provided by Phan.
The earlier sentence of the Phan Community Order of Correction was overturned and she received an Intensive Order of Correction – which is the most serious sentence an offender can serve in the community.
As part of the sentence, she must conduct psychiatric counseling and perform over 200 hours of community service.