Homicide trial witness caught in buy-bust police sting
A HOMICIDE witness caught in a drug buy-bust police operation faces deportation to the same country as the man at whose trial he testified.
Sunshine Coast man Richard Jade Ratima was jailed on Monday for selling drugs to undercover cops who started an operation by walking into a tavern and asking where they could find a dealer.
The Crown could only prove Ratima made $200 "commission” supplying thousands of dollars of ice and other drugs including marijuana.
Chief Justice Catherine Holmes said Ratima was an "intermediary” rather than a big-time player.
She told Brisbane Supreme Court that cops investigating coast drug rings bought from Ratima multiple times.
Most was ice or methylamphetamine - although one deal was a $9000 "ripoff” package with no real drugs.
The court heard a cocaine offer from Ratima to undercover police came to nothing, as did a planned steroid purchase.
In November 2016 Ratima, previously of Bundaberg, got 13 months' probation for dishonesty offences.
He was on that probation when caught selling drugs.
Ratima has been locked up since March 30, last year.
"Things seem to have changed somewhat while in custody,” the chief justice said.
She said Ratima had completed a substance abuse program.
Apart from drug trafficking, Ratima faced charges including wilful damage for smashing a house window.
He said he tripped and put his hand through the window but the Crown rejected that.
Ratima was jailed for four and a half years but with 389 days served, he'll be eligible for parole in September.
The court heard he then faces possible deportation to New Zealand.
A prosecutor on Monday said Ratima was a reluctant witness at Brandon John Mischewski's trial.
At that trial late last year, Ratima said he should have done more to stop a fatal altercation between Mischewski and Scott Frank Williams.
Mr Williams died in Buddina in January 2016.
Mischewski was given nine and a half years' jail for unlawful striking causing Williams's death, and will be sent to New Zealand when his sentence is over.
The Crown said Ratima also declined to let cops interview him after the drug bust. -NewsRegional