Andrew William Donney pleaded guilty to a string of charges at Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Andrew William Donney pleaded guilty to a string of charges at Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Tragic death sends businessman into drug spiral

A BUSINESSMAN who spiralled into drug use and a wave of crime turned to meth as a stress relief after a tragic family death.

Andrew William Donney, 34, had been drug-free for one year when he faced court today after embarking on an eight-month crime spree where he assaulted a police officer and was found with an $80,000 piece of machinery in his yard.

The owner of a Gympie shed business took over the family business when his father suddenly died in 2017.

Defence lawyer Anna Smith said Donney didn't cope with the immense stress and turned to meth.

Donney pleaded guilty to 23 offences at Maroochydore Magistrates Court today, including assaulting a police officer, drug driving, possessing drugs and receiving tainted property.

His offending began around Pomona and Doonan in April last year and spanned until November.

In that time, police found an $80,000 piece of machinery in Donney's backyard after it was stolen from a construction site.

Donney also kicked a police officer in the face when he was arrested on July 15.

While most of the offences were "low-level" drug-related crimes, police prosecutor Jeanette Grigoris said the most serious offence involving the machinery warranted jail time.

Ms Smith said the death of Donney's father took a huge toll on his life.

"His family went travelling and he stayed to hold up the family business," she said.

Ms Smith said her client was determined to get his life in order despite missing appointments at drug rehab centres.

Magistrate Chris Callaghan sentenced Donney to complete two years' probation and disqualified him from driving for six months.

Convictions were recorded.



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