12 September 2023

Meth, GBL and $22,000 cash found after dangerous driver fails to stop for police

| Albert McKnight

Daniel McConnell-Imbriotis, 33, will return to be sentenced next year. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A drug trafficker who sped away from police with a large amount of drugs and cash in his car has had his sentencing deferred until next year so he can complete a rehabilitation program.

Daniel McConnell-Imbriotis admitted being caught with about 282 grams of gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), 32 grams of methylamphetamine and more than $22,000 in cash on 20 November 2021.

He’d already had his driver’s licence disqualified for two years when police tried to pull him over as he drove a Toyota Rav4 through Dickson in the early hours of the morning, court documents say. The officers noticed him because he had been driving well below the speed limit.

He didn’t stop and instead fled down Majura Avenue, speeding and driving over a roundabout and through a red light.

He drove into a car park at the Canberra Parklands Central Hotel Apartments where police approached him and tried to pull him out of the vehicle when he wouldn’t get out.

However, he accelerated further into the car park while police were partially inside the Rav4. The officers then physically removed him from the driver’s seat, restrained him on the ground and put him in handcuffs.

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The officers searched his car, finding a satchel bag that contained the cash. They also found a bottle of GBL and bags of meth.

McConnell-Imbriotis was found to have a glass vial in his pants that had the words, “Digest – gut health – super shot” on it. This also contained GBL.

He was arrested and spent about seven months in custody before being granted bail.

McConnell-Imbriotis pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking GBL and methylamphetamine in the ACT Supreme Court on Monday (11 September).

The 33-year-old has also pleaded guilty to charges of dealing with money suspected to be the proceeds of crime, and dangerous driving.

He now lives in Sydney where he has family support and has started a residential rehabilitation program.

On Monday, his lawyer, Nathan Deakes from Legal Aid, applied for a deferred sentence so his client could complete this program, which was not opposed by the prosecution.

The prosecution had argued only full-time jail was appropriate while his lawyers had asked for him to be handed a suspended sentence, although Acting Justice Peter Berman described this as “a big ask”.

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However, the acting justice also said the fundamental purpose of sentencing was protecting the community. Sometimes courts did this with harsh sentences that acted as a deterrent, but sometimes protecting the community could be best achieved by promoting rehabilitation, he said.

The acting justice said the alternatives to jail required an offender to live in the ACT. However, the evidence for McConnell-Imbriotis suggested it would be highly counterproductive for him and the community if he returned to the ACT due to the substantial risk he will reengage with “undesirable influences” and commit more offences.

Acting Justice Berman said he would defer passing sentence so McConnell-Imbriotis could finish the rehabilitation program, continued bail and adjourned until August 2024 to set a new sentencing date.

The acting justice warned him that if he committed any more offences between then, “there’s probably only one outcome that’s going to happen”.

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