A female sex worker who was arrested for possessing illegal drugs has dodged two years behind bars after a judge found it ‘not unreasonable’ she used the illicit substances to deal with her life.
Sydney woman Cherie Mollica, 29, was parked on the side of the road in March 2016 when police conducted a search of her vehicle, News.com reports.
A bag with a syringe, a large stained glass bottle, a small bag of white crystals and a wallet containing almost $8000 in cash was discovered inside.
The bottle contained 970ml of Gamma-Butyrolactone, or GBL, which converts into Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate, GHB, when dissolved in the body.
Crystals inside the bottle also tested positive for 1.385 grams of methamphetamine.
Acting Judge Anthony Garling handed down a two year suspended jail sentence in the Sydney District Court on Thursday for her supply of GBL and for methamphetamine possession, she was fined $500.
Ms Mollica claimed the drugs were all hers and she used them to help her cope with her job as a sex worker.
She denied she was a dealer and said she had only ever supplied drugs to her friend, who was with her in the car the day of her arrest.
The woman said the hefty sum of cash had not come from drug sales, but from the generous wage she earned as a sex worker.
A co-worker defended her claims in court saying the pair earned up to $7000 a week in the industry and sometimes ‘a lot more’.
She said during her time as a sex worker she had consumed large amounts of drugs and earned large amounts of money.
At one point, she overdosed on drugs and was admitted to hospital, but said she was now focusing on reconstructing her life away from drugs and sex work.
Now working in a sales role, Ms Mollica said she had lied to police in an earlier interview because she was ‘nervous and didn’t want to get in trouble.’
While the Crown believed parts of her story were ‘consistent with drug supply’, he concluded that evidence ‘had not reached the required level’ to prove her guilty of his suspicions.
He said the woman’s possession of the wad of cash was consistent with the life she lived and it was ‘not unreasonable to suggest she needed drugs to get on with her life.’
The judge told court Ms Mollica was now drug free and living with her parents, and he hoped she would stay clean.
‘Hopefully she will not (return to drugs). When she is drug-free her life is much better,’ he said.
Judge Garling warned Ms Mollica should not feel she had gotten away with her crime with a ‘slap on the hand’.