Ex-cop Matthew Marshall must go back to prison

DECORATED former Albury detective Matthew Marshall will spend Christmas in jail.

Yesterday he lost a severity appeal in the Albury District Court to have a jail sentence for drug supply charges overturned.

Marshall, 42, of Thurgoona, was sentenced in September on 13 charges in Albury Local Court by magistrate Tony Murray.

The 18-month jail term, with a minimum of seven months, meant he would have spent a further three months in custody.

He immediately lodged a severity appeal, was released on bail and yesterday appeared before Judge Martin Blackmore.

Barrister Richard Pontello said Marshall’s recent drug rehabilitation could be nullified or destroyed if he was to be returned to custody.

Judge Blackmore initially warned Mr Pontello he was risking a longer sentence if the appeal went ahead.

But later he dismissed the appeal and reduced the custody period to a minimum two months, considering that Marshall had spent a further 20 days in rehabilitation since he was sentenced.

“The overwhelming issue in this matter is general deterrence,” Judge Blackmore said.

He said Marshall was discharged from the NSW police force in March last year with post traumatic stress disorder.

He turned to drugs as self-medication and sold them as part of a network linked with drug kingpin Malcolm Collins, who had runners bringing large amounts of ice from Sydney.

Mr Pontello said Marshall’s profit was miniscule with 11 supplies or offers to supply over 2½ months.

He now saw a psychologist fortnightly and his mental state deteriorated when put into custody for just a few hours on sentencing in September.

Marshall’s sale of small quantities of drugs to associates who were already recreational users “is somewhat removed from someone going into the business of selling drugs”, Mr Pontello said.

When told how more jail might affect Marshall, Judge Blackmore said: “I don’t doubt that this is a sad and difficult case.”

But the community would be rightly upset if general deterrence was not applied.

Judge Blackmore said as a former police officer Marshall would have been acutely aware of the penalties.

“In my view, the appeal should be dismissed,” Judge Blackmore said, but he indicated a shorter non-parole period.

Marshall will remain in jail until his release on February 3 and he has to serve a further 12 months on parole.

His wife and father were in court for the appeal hearing as well as members of the Albury drug squad and other former police colleagues.

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