“IT smells yucky”.
They were the words a nine-year-old boy used during a police interview to describe his father’s methamphetamine production lab set up in their Ipswich region home.
The house was littered with glassware and chemicals in every room except the child’s when police searched it in August last year.
The boy told police his father “wore a special mask” when he was using the equipment.
“The child thinks it’s entirely normal to make methamphetamine in the bathroom or the lounge room,” Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren said during sentencing of the father in Ipswich District Court on Friday.
“What an awful childhood memory to have, one can only ponder how he will understand it – not just a yucky smell but his home when he was a nine-year-old boy was a methamphetamine lab.”
Crown prosecutor Clare Kelly said police gained intelligence on the man’s activity after he purchased items from various places.
She said they found instructions in exercise books and notepads in the home which related to chemical reactions.
Ms Kelly said the Crown could not claim the operation was commercial because there was a “very small minute amount” of drugs found.
The court heard police carried out a second search warrant less than a month later and found more chemicals and glassware along with striker plates from matchboxes, an element of which is used in the production of methamphetamine.
Ms Kelly said police also found photos, notes and instructions on the man’s iPhone relating to the production process along with syringes, needles, cannabis and methamphetamine.
The man was taken into custody in March following a third search warrant which uncovered more glassware, chemicals and instructions in the form of video, text and images on a laptop.
Ms Kelly said an aggregating feature was the presence of the child.
“The presence of the little boy exposed the child to the risks of labs which are quite chemically unstable and can result in explosions and fire,” she said.
Defence lawyer Stephen Kissick said his client had “sat in jail for eight months being drug free”.
“He wasn’t able to separate himself from drug use until he went into custody,” Mr Kissick said.
The 28-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, pleaded guilty to one count each of producing dangerous drugs and possessing dangerous drugs, two counts of possessing instructions for producing dangerous drugs and five counts of possessing drug related items, including a restricted substance.
The man was sentenced to a head sentence of two years imprisonment with immediate parole.