An Esperance man was sentenced to five years and five months imprisonment for two separate offences

A 41 year-old Esperance man was sentenced to five years and five months imprisonment for a burglary at Wylie Bay Waste Facility and a separate drug offence.

Bradley John Steel appeared before Judge Linda Petrusa in the District Court of WA on September 27.

He pleaded guilty to the drug offence and was also sentenced for a burglary after a jury found him guilty on June 13, 2018.  

The court heard between 4pm on August 22, 2015 and 6.15 am on August 24, 2015 he broke into the materials recycling building at the Wylie Bay Waste Facility, most likely by moving a sheet metal panel that had already been cut into the side of the wall adjacent to the baler.  

Steel took property valued at $6361, including a gas bottle, an air compressor, a display fridge, cash and a Holman weather station. 

His fingerprints were found on a crossbeam near the area where the metal sheet could be moved.

Police searched his home in Padbury Street on September 9, 2015 and located a Holman weather station of the same model taken from the facility. 

Steel was then arrested and was interviewed by police, but denied being involved in the burglary. 

He admitted he had used the waste facility in the past and said he had been locked in the facility about a month earlier, breaking the lock on the gate to get out. He said he left a note to explain what had happened.

Steel claimed before breaking the lock he tried to see if there was anyone there and walked all around the building, banging on windows and exterior walls and touching parts of the outside of the building.

Steel claimed the Holman weather station was a gift from a person who had been staying in his shed.

The only piece of property that was recovered from the burglary was the weather station.

Judge Petrusa said the jury did not accept his explanation and she concluded his offence required premeditation.

“The waste facility was also, given its isolation, a vulnerable facility and what could in colloquial terms be seen as a soft target,” she said.

“The loss was the loss of public moneys and to that extent the community as a whole has had to pay for this.”

Steel was sentenced to three years and five months’ imprisonment for the burglary offence.

He pleaded guilty to a charge that on November 22, 2017 at Tarin Rock, he had in his possession a prohibited drug, namely methamphetamine, with intent to sell or supply it to another.  

About 10.19am Steel was driving in an easterly direction on Tarin Rock Road, Tarin Rock towards Esperance when he was stopped by police for speeding.

State prosecutor Mr Watters said police checks revealed he had a recent history of drug convictions and was searched.

Steel had 19.28 grams of methamphetamine in various clipseal bags varying in weight from 0.10 grams to 3.47 grams. 

He was arrested and taken to the Narrogin Police Station where he admitted the crystal substance was synthetic ‘bath salts’ and said he had injected some. 

Steel’s lawyer Ms Needham said her client had a workplace accident which caused some nerve damage to both legs. His pain was managed.

Ms Needham said he was placed on some medication to which he was severely allergic. He ended up in a coma and in hospital for some period of time. 

He was placed on a disability support pension and needed to travel to Perth for his medication. But he wasn’t able to do this on a regular basis and he increased his drug use to replace the pain medication.

Judge Petrusa said Steel had a conviction from 2006 for possession with intent to sell or supply, so he was no stranger to drugs long before any pain management.

Mr Watters said Steel was headed to a regional town in WA and drugs in regional towns were an ‘endemic’ problem, especially for youths.

Mr Watters presented a psychiatric report from August 27, 2018 which noted that Steel stated he had “probably driven with meth in his system a thousand times or more and insisted he had never had an accident”.

Judge Petrusa said it was clear from the way the drugs found were packaged that he was a street-level dealer “and an active one at that”. 

“There was some aspect of commerciality about your dealings given that you have a long term entrenched drug problem of your own and this was no doubt intended to at least assist in financing that habit,” she said.

“You have numerous convictions relating to drug-offending, including two prior convictions for drug dealing from 2006 and 2012. 

“You have served terms of imprisonment.”

In sentencing Steel, Judge Petrusa acknowledged he had a long term problem with drugs and had begun using methamphetamine when he was 15 or 16 years old, had been diagnosed with mental illnesses and had suffered abuse as a child.  

Steel was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the drug offence.

This will be served cumulatively on the burglary offence for a total effective sentence of five years and five months’ imprisonment.

His sentence was backdated to 22 November 2017 when he was remanded in custody.