A man convinced he was going to be killed over a bag of cannabis he was carrying around has handed it in to Albury police.
The case stunned magistrate Tony Murray when Mark Westergaard appeared in the Albury Local Court dock this week.
“It’s a very unusual thing that he did,” Mr Murray told defence solicitor Tim Hemsley, especially given that Westergaard clearly was “at risk of going to jail”.
“I’ve never had that happen before.”
Westergaard, 53, walked into the station foyer on Monday evening and asked to speak to a supervisor, telling police he had “half a pound” of the drug in his car.
After police accompanied him to his car, parked out front, he pulled a clear plastic bag out from behind the driver’s seat. Inside was cannabis weighing 310 grams.
When asked by police whether he realised it was an offence to possess the cannabis, Westergaard replied: “Yeah, I know I’m not going anywhere mate.”
Westergaard declined making an application for bail after pleading guilty to supplying a commercial quantity of cannabis. A possession charge was withdrawn.
Mr Hemsley said what made the case so unusual was that without Westergaard handing himself in, the drug quite obviously would never have been discovered.
To that Mr Murray replied, in reference to Westergaard’s mental health: “Is he on medication?”
Westergaard, who is unemployed and homeless though said he was a carer “for a sick friend”, walked into the station about 7.35pm.
“The accused advised he had a bag of cannabis that he wanted to hand in and stated that the item was in his vehicle,” police said.
After being given the bag, police cautioned Westergaard and then asked him how long he had possessed the drug. “A few weeks, maybe a month,” he said, explaining his plan was to sell the cannabis.
On why he then changed his mind, Westergaard said: “I’m scared for my safety. There are people following me and I think they want to kill me. I think they have had a tracker on my car.”
Mr Murray said Westergaard would get “a substantial discount” on his sentence for handing himself in to police, as well as pleading guilty at his first appearance in court. He ordered Westergaard to undergo a pre-sentence report.
Court papers show Westergaard is from the Castlemaine area. The case was adjourned for sentencing on September 12.