As a biochemistry student at Western Sydney University, Madeline Christine Sawyer’s days were largely spent with her head buried in books.
But, as police were shocked to discover, her time outside class was anything but routine.
Sawyer, 19, had been juggling studies with a secret life of drug-supply and prostitution that unraveled last October after highway police randomly intercepted a car in which she was travelling.
She previously pleaded guilty to six supply and possession charges and a further count of dealing with suspected proceeds of crime.
But Judge John Pickering instead requested a report be compiled to assess her “suitability” for an Intensive Correction Order as an “alternative” to a custodial sentence.
The order would be served in the community under the strict supervision of Corrective Services.
“I know you were anxious to be sentenced today,” Judge Pickering told Sawyer. “However, this is the path I have decided to go down.”
Sawyer’s secret double life of drug dealing and paid sex was exposed only last October due to an erratic piece of driving by a disqualified motorist and fellow Western Sydney University student, Fadhil Al Khafaji.
When officers pulled the vehicle over, they found Al Khafaji behind the wheel, Sawyer in the passenger seat and two capsules of MDMA in the front console which, according to police documents, Al Khafaji said were his.
When officers looked at his phone, they discovered a text exchange between Sawyer and himself in which he had ordered additional drugs and she had replied: “No worries, will sort tomorrow.”
These messages led to a raid at Sawyer’s Campbelltown home, where officers found 28 capsules of MDMA powder, 15 re-sealable bags collectively containing 11 grams of cocaine and 11 individual, one-gram bags of methamphetamine, better known as ice.
When police questioned her about the hoard and $3660 found with them, she tried to disguise her dealing by claiming the drugs were all “for personal use”, adding the cash was “proceeds” from her “employment as a prostitute”.
Less than 48 hours before her arrest, she had texted a customer who had sampled her cocaine, and asked: “How did the rack go?”
“Yeah, it was good,” he replied, adding: “What are you doing the bags at?”
Sawyer responded: “Generally $300 a bag.”
At a previous sentencing hearing earlier this month, Judge Pickering had voiced concerns that Sawyer might still be involved in the sex industry while the Crown’s lawyer pressed for a sentence involving “immediate custodial time”.
But Judge Pickering said on Thursday that it was “only appropriate” he gave “consideration” to an order that now ultimately rests on whether or not she has genuinely turned a corner since her arrest and eliminated drugs from her life.
He warned her to be “truthful” while participating in interviews to be held over the next six weeks.
“This report is in your interests,” he told Sawyer.
The case returns to Campbelltown District Court on August 18.