ROAD TO RUIN: Violence, driving offences and meth amphetamine put a Gympie man in jail yesterday.
ROAD TO RUIN: Violence, driving offences and meth amphetamine put a Gympie man in jail yesterday.

Locked up in a locked down Gympie court

A GYMPIE man with a long, widespread and sometimes violent history of drug-linked crime was jailed by video when he appeared in a locked down Gympie District Court yesterday.

The man, Eliot Paul Wakeman, appeared by video link from jail on charges that included assault with bodily harm on a Gympie hotel security officer as well as a fingerprint link to drug manufacturing in Woondum National Park, south of Gympie.

Coronavirus precautions mean Wakeman appeared in Gympie by video link from prison as Judge Bernard Porter, also taking coronavirus precautions, delivered his sentence by video from District Court facilities in Brisbane.

Judge Porter said the other offences to which Wakeman, 39, pleaded guilty included meth amphetamine marketing and serious driving charges, including evading police.

He said the assault on the hotel security worker on April 10, 2011, was recorded on CCTV but police had been unable to locate Wakeman at the time.

The security officer suffered a detached retina and external injuries requiring stitches after being punched in the eye “with considerable force” in what the judge described as “a protracted violent incident.”

Wakeman’s fingerprints had also been found on glassware hidden in Woondum National Park, south of Gympie, after police found lab equipment and amphetamine ingredients stored in a hollow tree.

Wakeman also pleaded guilty on Friday to three charges of possessing a drug and two of possessing an electronic antipersonnel device (or “taser”), as well as 25 other summary offences committed between August, 2018 and February 2019.

Wakeman was 36 in December, 2018, when police found his fingerprints on glassware associated with a clandestine meth lab found in a clearing in the Woondum National Park, the court was told.

Chemicals and residue at the scene were consistent with the manufacture of meth from pseudo ephedrine.

The quantity of phosphoric acid found at the scene, 17.5g, was enough to produce 156g of meth, given sufficient pseudoephedrine.

Wakeman had not admitted to and was not charged with being the manufacturer.

A stolen vehicle, given to Wakeman by an associate, was also found in the area.

On January 20 last year, police stopped his car and found 1.5g of marijuana, less than 1g of meth, a broken glass pipe and a homemade electronic antipersonnel device, similar to a taser.

On February 22, police exercised a search warrant at Southside and found drug items, including 24 small clipseal bags with “small saleable amounts” of meth at 67 per cent purity, two other bags with meth, a taser and bullets

Wakeman’s fingerprints were found on some of the bags

The drug activity was for a commercial purpose, given that it was packaged in small saleable quantities, the judge said.

Police also found “significant amounts of drug distribution paraphernalia.

On August 14, 2018, he failed to stop when police sought to intercept his car for a breath test near Gympie Central.

He had driven off at speed and continued down Mt Pleasant Rd.

Judge Porter said the driving matters were serious and not victimless, and nor were the drug offences involving commerciality.

The driving matters had endangered fellow citizens.

“Drug offences, involving commercial dealings, do the same and spread the pain of your addiction.

Judge Porter said Wakeman had a poor criminal history except for four years from 2005 and a second period, when he was in custody from 2013 to 2017.

The first exception was a group of violent offences in New South Wales, their seriousness shown by the fact that they attracted sentences of six years each

Judge Porter sentenced Wakeman to three years jail, with parole release on September 30, allowing for 410 days already served in prison.

He also disqualified Wakeman from driving for three years.