Australia: Former lawyer spared jail for supplying cocaine and lying after speed trap

A former Queensland solicitor and Australian Defence Force veteran has been spared jail over supplying cocaine and lying to avoid losing his driver’s licence.

Shaune Kerry James Irving, 41, appeared in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday for sentencing after pleading guilty to three counts of supplying a dangerous drug in the form of cocaine and two counts of making a false statement.

The Crown prosecutor said the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission commenced Operation Jackal in August 2019 to investigate offences connected to law firm Moloney MacCallum Abdelshahied, where Irving worked at the time as a junior solicitor.

Operation Jackal’s various covert surveillance techniques observed Irving purchasing, sharing and using cocaine with friends between August and November 2019, including at a Redbank Plains home and a Fortitude Valley rooftop bar.

‘(Irving) called his friend and arranged to meet him, saying he had something ‘being strong and not cut’ and he was on his way ‘for a bump’,” the prosecutor said.

He said Irving was also speeding in his Mercedes-Benz vehicle in Auchenflower at 10am on May 20, 2019 when he was detected by a camera.

“When he got the notice for three demerit points when he only had one … he was of the belief that he would lose his licence,” the prosecutor said.

Irving then signed two statutory declarations that his partner had been driving at the time.

Mobile phone cell tower data later showed Irving was the sole occupant of the vehicle and his partner was elsewhere.

Irving’s barrister, Saul Holt, said his client had been suffering from an untreated severe psychiatric illness in the form of post traumatic stress disorder that he had acquired while serving in the ADF in East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan and as a paramedic in Queensland.

Irving appeared in court with the aid of his Department of Veterans’ Affairs support animal, a chocolate Labrador dog named Legend.

“He is wholly and completely unable to work. He will never practise law again. He has handed in his (practising certificate),” Mr Holt said.

“It’s desperately sad … (his plan for the future) is to get through today.”

Judge Paul Smith said Irving had a minimal risk of reoffending and had been in combat and saw a friend shot dead during his 12 years with the army and air force.

Judge Smith said he would have sent Irving to jail if not for his psychiatric condition.

“Making false statutory declarations is a serious offence – it goes to the heart of the administration of justice,” Judge Smith said.

“Also of concern was you were a practising solicitor at the time – albeit junior – and solicitors must uphold standards of honesty.”

Irving was sentenced to 12 months jail wholly suspended on the condition that he not reoffend during the next two years.


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