Vicious cycle

MAGISTRATE Andrew Eckhold has called for the establishment of a drug court in Dubbo to protect the community and assist offenders caught in the vicious cycle of addiction.

The Magistrate said drug courts had demonstrated success in other areas:

"It is an important issue to address, particularly as the custodial rate in NSW is higher than other states,'' he said.

Magistrate Eckhold raised the need for a drug court while dealing with a man "with a long history of dishonesty driven by drug addiction".

Matthew John Marks appeared in Dubbo Local Court via audiovisual link from Wellington Correctional Centre.

Police allege the 31-year-old wrote dud cheques totalling $9000 during a three-week spending spree.

Marks is yet to enter pleas to 11 counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, a single charge of failing to pay for meals and accommodation and an additional charge of failing to appear in court in accordance with bail undertaking.

The court heard Marks had obtained a bed at the Orana Haven residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre at Brewarrina.

Police did not object to an application for bail to allow Marks to participate in rehabilitation.

Magistrate Eckhold ordered Marks to be taken directly from Wellington Correctional Centre to Orana Haven.

In accordance with a bail undertaking, Marks must present to Brewarrina police within 12 hours if released from rehabilitation.

All charges were adjourned to February 27. Marks was excused from appearing in person on that day if legally represented and still in full-time residential rehabilitation.

Magistrate Eckhold urged Marks to act responsibly:

"Don't try to play ducks and drakes,'' he said. "If you have to leave rehab for something you have done, go to Brewarrina police.

"You have had a bad problem with drugs and dishonestly. You may or may not get bail again.''

Police facts tendered to the court said Marks had become homeless after the breakdown of a relationship.

He lived in motels for a period of time before moving into a campervan parked in the backyard of an East Dubbo house.

Police said Marks checked into a West Dubbo motel for three nights on March 4. He handed over $250 when the owner asked for payment.

Police allege Marks stayed a further three nights before leaving the motel without paying $640.80 for accommodation and meals.

On March 16 he allegedly wrote a $234.92 cheque for clothing and footwear at a sporting goods retailer in Macquarie Street, Dubbo.

On the same day he allegedly cashed a personal cheque for $1000 at a Dubbo bank. Police allege he returned to the bank the following day with a cheque for $500.

On March 18 he allegedly cashed a cheque for $500 at a Macquarie Street hotel.

Police allege Marks continued to write cheques knowing he did not have sufficient funds in his bank account.

He is alleged to have purchased $100 meat packs from a North Dubbo butchery, jewellery worth $2890 from a Talbragar Street retailer and a $679 baby carrier from a Bultje Street store.

On March 28 Marks is alleged to have written four cheques totalling $1300 at a Forbes motel.

Marks was arrested in East Dubbo on April 3.

Magistrate calls for drug court to help addicted offenders

Magistrate calls for drug court to help addicted offenders


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