A young unemployed Benalla chef found heading to a music festival with a trafficable quantity of cocaine in her car has escaped conviction.
That came after a magistrate accepted on Monday that the 3.5 grams of the drug was purely for Serena Cheetham's own use.
The now 20-year-old, Albury Local Court magistrate Richard Funston heard, was keen to avoid a conviction - after pleading guilty to possessing a prohibited drug - so she could work again in Canada.
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For now, her lawyer said, Cheetham was out of work and isolated at home because of the hospitality industry shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cheetham, then 19, was found with the cocaine in her car as she drove to the Strawberry Fields music festival near Tocumwal late last year.
Her sentencing though had been delayed after Mr Funston previously allowed an adjournment so she could attend court.
Mr Funston said Cheetham had to turn up to court and not just be represented by a lawyer in order for her to be able to sign for a community release order.
Before she was sentenced, prosecutor Sergeant Andrew Pike pointed out to the court that the 3.5 gram weight of the cocaine meant she could have been charged with the trafficking or supply of the illicit drug.
Sergeant Pike said the weight meant the quantity would be colloquially referred to as an "eight-ball", or an eighth of an ounce.
When asked by Mr Funston for an estimate of the street value of the cocaine, Sergeant Pike said this was probably between $1200 and $1500.
The court was told that Cheetham was co-operative with police.
Mr Funston said he must have had at least 40 festival-goers on drug charges appear before him on a previous list day - and it was clear these young people were "the best and brightest" destined for top jobs.
Cheetham's car was seen in a convoy of three on Barooga Road, Tocumwal, on November 29 about 12.15pm.
Police suspected the cars were heading to the festival, a "well-known location for use of prohibited drugs".
Illicit drugs were found in the two other cars, but Cheetham - who appeared nervous - denied she had anything.
A search found the cocaine vacuum-wrapped in plastic then stuffed inside a tissue box, which was found in the centre console of the car.
When asked about the white powder, she replied "coke" then said it was cocaine for her personal use.
Cheetham was placed on a 12-month order.