Methadone thief gets three years

A man who stole a bottle of methadone from a pharmacy and was soon after found unconscious has been jailed for a maximum of three years

Benjamin Robert Joseph went to the Chemmart Pharmacy in Magnet Court, Sandy Bay last October and demanded morphine, showing the pharmacist that he had a knife and stating that “someone will get hurt” if the alarm was activated.

He was given a number of boxes of tablets as well as a bottle of methadone, which he was seen swigging from shortly after leaving.

He was later found “slumped” outside nearby public toilets, and was taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital and charged.

Now, the Hobart Mercury reports that Mr Joseph has been sentenced to three years’ jail, backdated to February and with a non-parole period of 18 months.

His defence lawyer had told the Court that the robbery was unplanned, and that Mr Joseph had had substance abuse problems for some time.

But Justice Michael Brett noted that Mr Joseph’s actions had “terrified” staff, as they conveyed a clear message of violence.

The Mercury reports that one staff member has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suffers ongoing mental stress since the event.

Pharmacists who are distressed can contact the Pharmacists’ Support Service on 1300 244 910.

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