22 November 2022

Churchgoer and dealer who blacked out in brothel with gun, drugs and cash sentenced

| Albert McKnight
David Celeski

David Celeski, 40, was greeted by supporters when he was released from custody on Friday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A street-level dealer and regular churchgoer who was found unconscious at a brothel with drugs, cash and a loaded gun has been sentenced, with an acting justice telling him, “You can’t be a role model when you’re running around with guns”.

David Celeski was discovered blacked out with the illegal items at Langtrees Bar & Brothel in Mitchell in the early morning of 5 February 2022.

He had been at the brothel for several hours before staff called triple zero for help because he was unconscious, court documents say. When his bag was searched it was found to contain a Colt 1911 pistol, over $12,000 cash, 40 grams of heroin and three mobile phones.

The pistol was operational and had rounds in the magazine. Its hammer was cocked and a round was in the chamber, although the safety switch was on.

Celeski also had 26 grams of methylamphetamine in a clip seal bag, as well as seven grams of 1,4-Butanediol in a vanilla extract bottle.

READ ALSO Woman accused of trying to incite parents’ murder granted day bail to deal with squatter issues at her property

The 40-year-old pleaded guilty earlier this year, was referred to the ACT’s Drug and Alcohol Court and appeared there for sentencing on Friday (18 November), where Acting Justice Richard Refshauge said it appeared he was a “relatively significant, if low-level dealer” who sold drugs for some profit.

Celeski, who was born in Macedonia before his family moved to Queanbeyan, had told the author of a court report the drugs found on him were for his personal use and his attempts to sell them were to offset his own costs.

The court heard he had been described as a high-functioning person with a drug dependency. He said he started using drugs like MDMA when he was 12 and found it to be “an amazing experience” then stopped after a few years.

But he started taking meth, saying it made him feel “great”, then took up using heroin about 10 years ago.

Acting Justice Refshauge said he had taken full responsibility for his fresh offending. But he had 45 offences on his record, including 11 drug-related, six weapons-related and five violence-related. He’d also breached a good behaviour order (GBO) with his new offences.

However, he still had a loving family who supported him.

Celeski pleaded guilty to charges of unauthorised possession of a firearm and ammunition, trafficking methylamphetamine and heroin, possessing the proceeds of crime, as well as possessing and supplying a prohibited substance.

READ ALSO Ex-gang member Damien Featherstone sentenced for taking detainee hostage at Canberra jail

After he was discovered blacked out, he was taken to hospital, handed to police the next day, then spent 287 days in custody before his sentencing.

Acting Justice Refshauge convicted and sentenced him to a total of about four years and seven months’ jail, a figure that included resentencing him for the offences in the GBO he breached.

He said Celeski was dependent on drugs which had been a substantial contributor to his offending so he suspended the remainder of the custodial sentence for a two-year Drug and Alcohol Treatment Order, which meant he was able to be released from custody that day.

“You’ve been around the courts long enough to understand most of it,” Acting Justice Refshauge told Celeski about his sentence.

Celeski was spotted in tears after the sentence was handed down, while a man in the court gallery called out to the acting justice, “Thank you, God Bless”.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.