Magistrate fires off at the police

A MAGISTRATE has had a shot at police for wasting taxpayers' money after he dismissed a charge against a man caught with ecstasy at Splendour in the Grass.

Shane Ellis was spotted by police acting suspiciously when he saw officers and drug detection dogs as he was walked toward the main gate of the music festival at North Byron Parklands on July 27 last year.

Ellis turned and walked in the direction he had come from while trying to remove something from a bag he carried. When police approached Ellis a drug detection dog indicated the Mt Isa man had illegal drugs.

A search of Ellis's bag uncovered five blue ecstasy tablets in a plastic resealable bag hidden inside a sunglasses container.

He was issued with a court attendance notice and entered a guilty plea to possessing a prohibited drug when he appeared at Byron Bay Court on September 19.

When dismissing the charge, Magistrate David Heilpern said "the expense to the public of matters such as this is enormous". He said despite Ellis's guilty plea, the matter had five adjournments in seven months.

"This was five tablets that the police valued at $100," he said.

Mr Heilpern noted Ellis had no prior convictions in NSW or Queensland, and ordered the drugs be destroyed.


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