Castlemaine Olympian pleads guilty to drug offences

FORMER Castlemaine Olympic gold medallist Chantelle Newbery has pleaded guilty to drug offences in a Queensland court.

Champion diver Newbery, 37, of Victoria Point, was placed on a drug diversion program after pleading guilty in Cleveland Magistrates Court to possession of dangerous drugs and failing to properly dispose of syringes on Thursday.

She was also fined $300 for failing to show up for a scheduled appearance at Wynnum Magistrates Court earlier this year.

The court heard Newbery was arrested after a police raid on her Lota home unearthed bags of methylamphetamine in her wallet and handbag. 

Used syringes were also found in the drawer of a bedside table.

Newbery was granted bail on May 5, but did not show up for another scheduled appearance on June 30.

A warrant was issued for her arrest, but she surrendered herself to Cleveland police on Thursday.

Newbery’s defence solicitor Jessi Galbraith said her client had sent an email on the day of her last scheduled appearance noting that the lack of a car prevented her from attending court.

She said Newbery had experienced issues with depression and anxiety, financial hardship, family tragedy and housing issues over the past few years.

Ms Galbraith asked that a conviction not be recorded so Newbery could move back into a role training up-and-coming divers.

Newbery was the first Australian Olympic diver to win gold in more than 80 years at the 2004 Athens Games, adding to two Commonwealth Games gold medals won in 1998 and 2006.

She publicly revealed her battle with chronic depression and suicide attempts in 2009.

Magistrate Athol Kennedy placed Newbery onto the drug diversion program, meaning no conviction was recorded.

He warned her that she faced a serious risk of jail time if she was charged with any more drug offences.

Anyone who needs assistance with issues raised in this story can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue 1300 224 636.

Source: Redland City Bulletin

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