Former Olympian told he needs to face his substance problems

AN IPSWICH magistrate told a former Olympic gymnast he needs to acknowledge he has a substance abuse problem after he was caught driving with drugs in his system and then in other incident, threatening people with a kitchen knife while heavily intoxicated.

Todd Howard Butland, 45, pleaded guilty to drug driving and going armed so as to cause fear in Ipswich Court.

Prosecutor Sergeant Paul Caldwell said on February 28, Butland was intercepted driving on Warwick Rd, Yamanto and took a roadside drug test.

Later tests showed methylamphetamine in his system.

On April 5, police were called to Amberley Caravan Park at Willowbank on reports of a man threatening people with a knife.

Police were told he had been complaining about children making too much noise and arrived with a woman separating him from another man.

He was seen holding a 25cm knife and witnesses said he punched himself and was making nonsensical statements about wanting to see his son.

Defence barrister Geoffrey Seaholme said Butland competed at the 1992 Olympics and was now living in Currumbin, blaming his actions on a high level of intoxication.

He was also struggling with divorce and having no contact with his only child.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said the seriousness of the matter should not be trivialised by the fact he was very drunk.

She questioned whether the claims Mr Butland was not currently abusing drugs was true.

While looking at his criminal history, she noted it was "not the first time (Butland) had been drunk and acted stupidly".

"You do have a drug problem Mr Butland," she said, fining him $1500 and disqualifying him from driving for three months.