Rebecca Castner has asked to be released on parole early because of coronavirus concerns. Picture: Facebook
Rebecca Castner has asked to be released on parole early because of coronavirus concerns. Picture: Facebook

Ice queen’s COVID-19 freedom bid

A notorious Queensland ice queen serving ten years in jail for selling up to $3.3m worth of the drug has tried to use the COVID-19 pandemic to get out of jail after just three years.

Rebecca Teresa Castner, 56, who is in Southern Queensland prison in the Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane, has told the state's parole board that she should be freed during COVID-19 because she has health problems which increase her risk.

But when the parole board refused to green-light her release on June 2, she filed an application in the Supreme Court on July 2 in a bid to overturn the board's decision.

Castner was sentenced to ten years jail in July 2017 for trafficking in at least 3kg of ice between January and July 2015.

 

Rebecca Castner is supposed to serve 80 per cent of her 10-year sentence before being eligible for parole. Picture: Facebook
Rebecca Castner is supposed to serve 80 per cent of her 10-year sentence before being eligible for parole. Picture: Facebook

 

She made an estimated profit of $3.3 million on drugs she picked up from locations around the Sunshine Coast including the Ettamogah Pub in Palmview.

Prior to her 2015 arrest Castner boasted she enjoyed the "crack lord" life and that her tropical hideaway in Buderim was a "drug lord house" where she had drivers, security guards, debt collectors and a personal assistant.

"Being a crack lord is an easy life … they'll never catch me" and "we were making so much money we couldn't spend it", she said on police phone taps.

Castner, who approved of her enforcers threatening drug debtors with injury, is not eligible for parole until January 31, 2025, court documents state.

She is supposed to serve at least 80 per cent of her 10-year sentence before being eligible for parole.

When she was sentenced in July 2017 she had already spent 163 days in pre-sentence custody.

Castner says she is suffering from the bacterial skin infection cellulitis which progressed to blood poisoning, and renal failure.

Castner’s drug den in Buderim
Castner’s drug den in Buderim

She also has cirrhosis of her liver, heart failure and diabetes, court documents state.

Lawyer Rachana Rajan, from the Prisoners Legal Service told the Parole Board in a letter on March 31 that the sentencing court did not have knowledge of Casters chronic health conditions "partly due to Ms Castner deterioration in custody".

"If she is not released on exceptional circumstances parole she will remain in custody for an extended period of time," Ms Rajan says in the letter filed in court.

Ms Rajan told the board that Castner told her "it is difficult to uphold hygiene and distancing" in prison.

"We submit that Ms Castner should be released from prison urgently because she is at risk of serious and even fatal COVID-19 infection," Ms Rajan states.

The case is due in court in Brisbane on Thursday.

Originally published as Ice queen's COVID-19 freedom bid



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