Unborn bub saves mum from prison
"EXCEPTIONAL" circumstances and a high-risk pregnancy were the only things that kept Kia Louise Thomas from serving a term in prison.
The 31-year-old Bundaberg mother-of-two pleaded guilty to a series of drug-related charges over a three-year period when she appeared in the Supreme Court at Bundaberg on Tuesday.
Thomas's 14-count indictment also included one count of possessing a category R weapon.
Her defence barrister Frank Richards successfully argued due to Thomas's high-risk pregnancy, with the unborn child suffering from a hole in the heart, she should not be incarcerated.
Mr Richards said Thomas had also attended Bridges (drug diversion program) since 2015 and had "mustered the fortitude" to stop taking drugs during all of her pregnancies.
She had worked at a child-care centre for almost a decade.
"(Thomas) is a young lady who is a capable, useful and productive member of the community," Mr Richards said.
Justice Lyons said she could see the circumstances in Thomas's case were "exceptional" because "it is clear this baby has significant difficulties" that may include a genetic disorder.
"It is clear this is serious offending - a lot of methlyamphetamine, equipment and drugs found," Justice Lyons said.
"The community denounces the conduct you were involved in."
Justice Lyons considered the risk of cardiac anomalies and possible syndromic disorder for Thomas's unborn child, that prison was an "option of last resort".
She handed down a two-year jail term, with immediate parole.
The court had earlier heard that in 2015 police were called to Thomas's Thabeban home where she was living with her partner at the time.
They found a red box with pipes, clear bags and glass equipment inside.
Crown prosecutor Mark Whitbread said the box, described as a "clandestine drug laboratory", was capable of producing methylamphetamine, and was found in the bedroom of Thomas and her ex.
Two years later police, when police again executed a search warrant at her home, they found 15 tablets of oxycodone, 13.5 grams of marijuana, three home-made tasers, scales and fireworks.
Mr Whitbread argued that because of Thomas's history with drug use and dependence, using ice since the age of 20, she could have used the "laboratory" for personal gain.
However, Justice Lyons countered there was no evidence Thomas had participated in the production of the drugs. A conviction was recorded.