Jack David Cunnah pleaded guilty to trafficking Cannabis when he faced Townsville Supreme Court.
Jack David Cunnah pleaded guilty to trafficking Cannabis when he faced Townsville Supreme Court.

Engineering student trafficked dangerous drugs

A  MAN who moonlighted as a drug trafficker while at ­university in Townsville has been spared from jail to allow him to complete an engineering degree.

Jack David Cunnah pleaded guilty to a string of drug charges, including trafficking cannabis, at Townsville Supreme Court yesterday.

The 23-year-old was portrayed in court as someone people would be surprised was involved in serious drug offending.

Defence barrister Harvey Walters said Cunnah was well-educated, the son of a nurse and an IT professional, who had completed a bachelor's degree in geology at James Cook University and had been accepted into a civil engineering degree at Swinburne University in Melbourne.

"He is a young man who you might wonder, 'how did he get himself involved in this'," Mr Walters said. "He instructs me he was smoking cannabis and using so much cannabis that he was financially suffering because of this.

"He and some friends decided they would get together and purchase drugs in bigger quantities so it wasn't so expensive. He took up an opportunity foolishly and then was on the tick list."

The court heard Cunnah used applications on his mobile phone designed to delete messages in an effort to avoid detection of his drug-related correspondence, but that didn't stop police from charging him after a raid on a Douglas house in October 2017.

During the raid police seized 93g of cannabis, more than $1200 in cash, drug utensils and Cunnah's mobile phone.

Forensic analysis of the phone showed he was selling drugs to between 12 and 16 people over a period of about six months before his arrest.

Crown prosecutor Dane Marley said Cunnah told police he operated the drug business to fund his own addiction, which was consistent with the evidence that was seized.

However, Mr Marley said there was a degree of sophistication to Cunnah's enterprise and noted he would supply cannabis for cash and on credit.

Justice David North took into account Cunnah's youth and prospect of rehabilitation during sentencing.

Cunnah was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail, wholly suspended for a period of three years.