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The Canberra Times

Successful business owner trafficked cocaine while 'lost'

A grinning Jason Pahl leaves court on Monday. Picture: Blake Foden

A successful Canberra business owner has been fined and ordered to perform significant community service after trafficking in cocaine while he was "lost and misguided".

Jason Gary Pahl, 24, was sentenced in the ACT Supreme Court on Monday to a 19-month intensive correction order.

He was also fined $25,000 for drug trafficking and four offences related to his failure to properly store firearms and ammunition at the Ngunnawal home he shares with his partner and children.

Agreed facts show police raided Pahl's address in November 2020, finding large amounts of cocaine, $2320 in cash, two improperly stored guns and associated ammunition, and drug paraphernalia.

The quantity of cocaine found - more than 352 grams - represents nearly 60 times the minimum trafficable quantity of that drug.

Pahl made a number of admissions during the search, telling police the bedroom in which some of the cocaine had been found was his "humble domain".

Jason Pahl leaves court in February, after pleading guilty to five charges. Picture: Blake Foden

He added that the items of interest had nothing to do with his family.

"It's just me, not them," he told investigators.

In February, on his 24th birthday, Pahl pleaded guilty to five charges stemming from the raid.

Sentencing Pahl on Monday, Justice David Mossop said the man had moved to Australia from South Africa at the age of 12.

The judge added that Pahl had started a successful and financially rewarding concreting business last year, employing several people.

He found "antisocial peers" and a $2000-a-week cocaine habit had led Pahl astray prior to his arrest, which had prompted him to cut ties with negative influences and work hard to turn his life around.

Justice Mossop reached this conclusion after taking into account evidence that included a letter from Pahl, who described himself as having been "lost and misguided" at the time of his offending.

The material available to the judge also included a letter from Pahl's mother, who told the court her son's charges had been "both cruel and a blessing" because they had forced him to address his issues.

In light of factors like the progress Pahl had already made towards rehabilitation, Justice Mossop opted for a community-based jail sentence.

The intensive correction order he ultimately imposed requires Pahl to complete 240 hours of community service within the next year.

The 24-year-old must also pay his fines within that timeframe.

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