By Stephen Pigram
A Hobart man convicted of importing drugs using the so-called dark net has likened the drug-selling websites to a shopping mall.
Beven Dwyer, 30, escaped jail after being convicted of four counts of importing drugs from overseas in mail parcels in June 2015.
The Hobart Criminal Court was told Dwyer paid for drugs using the internet currency, Bitcoin, after finding drugs freely available on the dark net.
He imported cocaine, LSD, MDMA and the amphetamine-like drug DOM, worth $9,570.
A jury found him not guilty of trafficking the LSD, MDMA and DOM but guilty of importing all three drugs.
The jury could not agree on charges of trafficking in the cocaine but after the jury was discharged, Dwyer pleaded guilty to importing the drug.
The court was told he received four mail parcels, three from overseas, including one from the United Kingdom.
He sent some of the drugs by mail to other dark net users free of charge, and also shared the drugs with members of his share house.
Low-cost drugs too tempting
Dwyer was described as socially isolated and the court heard his interest in computers and IT led him to successfully mine for Bitcoin by solving mathematical encryption problems on the internet.
He accessed the dark net and through forums found links to various drug-selling sites.
He described it like being in a shopping mall.
Drugs were freely available at a low cost and Dwyer found the temptation too great.
Acting Justice Porter said there were several aspects that put the offending in a relatively serious light.
“Notwithstanding the absence of the commercial aspect, I take the view that a sentence of imprisonment is necessary for the purposes of denunciation and deterrence,” he said.
“I am satisfied that the drugs the subject of these counts were mainly for his own use but that he would have shared some of it with others.”
Justice Porter said Dwyer had taken considerable steps in drug rehabilitation
He sentenced Dwyer to four months’ jail which he wholly suspended on condition Dwyer not commit any other offence for 18 months.