5 September 2022

Devout churchgoer found blacked out in brothel with gun, drugs and cash sent to alternative court

| Albert McKnight
Selfie of man with black T-shirt

David Celeski, 40, pleaded guilty to several charges after he was found unconscious at a brothel. Photo: Facebook.

A regular churchgoer found unconscious at a Canberra brothel with drugs, cash and a gun has been sent to the ACT’s Drug and Alcohol Court in an effort to address his illicit addiction.

David Celeski pleaded guilty to several charges after being discovered blacked out with illegal items, including a cocked and loaded Colt 1911 pistol at Langtrees Bar & Brothel in Mitchell in the early morning of 5 February 2022.

He was taken to hospital, handed to police the next day and has remained in custody since then.

While “obviously an intelligent and capable person”, the 40-year-old is a drug addict who needed $1500 a day to meet his drug requirements, Justice Michael Elkaim told the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday (30 August).

Paul Edmonds of Canberra Criminal Lawyers asked for his client to be referred to the Drug and Alcohol Court, which offers an alternative approach to rehabilitating offenders whose crime is related to drug or alcohol dependency, as he argued Celeski’s future would be dictated by his drug addiction.

Justice Elkaim thought he was “absolutely correct”.

“This offender has no chance in life if he remains an addict,” he said.

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The Queanbeyan Local Court has previously called him a habitual offender and he has a long list of convictions, including for firearm, drug and burglary-related offences, but the justice said despite his “endless misbehaviour”, the Macedonia-born man still had the support of his parents and children.

“The support he has from people like his parents will one day, if not come to an end, at least be diminished if he doesn’t make an effort to get off drugs,” he said.

He said his efforts so far had failed, but he might be assisted by a controlled program such as in the Drug and Alcohol Court. He referred him for an assessment in court and asked if he understood.

“I did, thank you,” Celeski replied.

“Ok. Off you go,” Justice Elkaim told him. He was led away by prison guards.

Court documents say the Karabar, NSW man spent several hours at the brothel before staff called Triple Zero for help because he was unconscious.

When police searched his bag, they found a Colt 1911 pistol, over $12,000 cash, 40 grams of heroin and three mobile phones.

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

He 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.

Celeski made no application for bail on Tuesday and will first appear in the Drug and Alcohol Court on 12 September.

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