Student’s career put on ice

A FINAL-year engineering student has been jailed after being used as a courier in a foiled ice-importation racket in Melbourne.

Hard-working father Wilson Dahn, 28, was drawn into the plot – and a maximum 25 years’ jail – when he asked to borrow cash from co-accused Sehwhy Nipoe, the County Court of Victoria heard.

Nipoe offered Dahn $12,000 simply to receive a parcel sent from Hong Kong and deliver it to Nipoe’s house.

Unbeknown to the pair, the package of 55 ladies’ purses – suffused with 544.6 grams of methamphetamine – was intercepted by Australian Customs officers on 10 August.

Federal police seized ice of estimated $70,000-plus street value, and repacked the purses in the parcel.

On 21 August, a federal police officer posed as a TNT courier and delivered the parcel to the nominated address.

Waiting outside, Dahn received the package. He delivered it to Nipoe, unwittingly leading police to the arranged rendezvous.

While interviewed at Werribee police station, Dahn was reportedly co-operative, made admissions and later implicated co-accused Nipoe and Emanuel Teah.

The alleged co-offenders are yet to be tried over the incident, but Dahn has formally agreed to testify against the pair in court.

During sentencing on 15 April, Judge Jeanette Morrish said for this alone, Dahn had put himself at some peril and was entitled to a sentence discount.

The accused had no involvement in the planning stages but Judge Morris found his testimony would be valuable. There were no “smoking guns” against the unconfessed Nipoe and Teah.

Judge Morrish opined Dahn’s co-operation was at least partly motivated by remorse and to set things right. He had also pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

She noted a psychologist’s report stating Dahn had above-average intelligence with promising professional prospects and no record of drug and alcohol abuse.

“I’m satisfied that you’re ashamed of what you have done,” the judge said.

In the dock, Dahn at times sobbed, bowed his head and clasped it.

He had worked hard to overcome his disruptive childhood to nearly complete a university degree.

His family fled Liberia soon after his birth. He grew up in refugee camps in Ivory Coast and Guinea facing “many distressing episodes”, Judge Morrish said.

In the camps, Dahn had little chance of education and lost his father at age 8.

In Australia, he studied English-language classes, then succeeded at high school and Deakin University. At the same time, he worked factory jobs and was dedicated to his long-term partner and five-year-old son.

Judge Morrish concluded Dahn’s rehabilitation prospects were “excellent” but dismissed his barrister’s calls for a suspended sentence or community order.

Imprisonment was the “only appropriate sentence”, the judge ruled – balancing factors such as general deterrence, moral culpability, and impact on Dahn’s family.

Dahn was convicted and jailed two years and 10 months on one charge of attempting to possess a marketable quantity of imported methamphetamine.

After 20 months, he will be freed on a recognizance release order.

Under the order, he will be bound by a $10,000 security to perform community service and not re-offend for 14 months.

 

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