First six face court following Lost Paradise arrests

Six young women were among the first of 50 people to front Gosford Local Court in relation to drug smuggling offences incurred at Glenworth Valley music festival, Lost Paradise, over the New Year.
Between them, the six women, all aged between 18 to 24, were caught with 64 illegal substances.
All six stood accused of wilfully smuggling prohibited drugs, and five of the women left Gosford with convictions on their permanent records, after Magistrate, Alex Mijovich, heard of the various methods the women went to conceal their drugs.
Three of the women, sisters, Meg and Lili Christensen, of Singleton, and, Tia Rose Mills, of Coogee, were caught with 25 MDMA capsules.
According to police facts tendered in court, the three women had hidden their drugs in various ways, hiding them in water bottles, bags and packets of chips.
The court heard that the three had planned on taking and sharing the drugs over the four day event, and that they were also holding some for a friend whom they had intended to meet up with during the festival.
Following a search of, Meg Christensen’s, handbag, another tablet was located, concealed in a balloon.
According to the police facts, Christensen had been unaware of the capsule in the balloon.
Police allege Christensen told them she had forgotten about the capsule which she had not purchased for use at Lost Paradise.
“That is one more MDMA tablet from ages ago and I forgot it was there.
“I planned to take seven capsules over the next four days, however, I didn’t plan to take the one in the balloon as I forgot it was in my handbag,” she told police.
Blackhill student, Amelia Fordsmith, was also found with 10 capsules of MDMA.
According to facts presented, Fordsmith revealed that she had concealed the drugs internally after being approached by a police dog.
Maryland resident, Kiana Mee Ra Soper, was also found with an internal concealment of 12 capsules, after police located her: “hiding behind a portable toilet wriggling her hips around trying to secret an object into her pants,” the police facts read.
Following police questioning, Soper removed a tampon that had the drugs taped to it.
Despite all five women’s lawyers arguing that the drugs were for personal use and that this was their first time before a court, Magistrate Mijovich said he could not turn a blind eye to the matter, given the community’s expectations around drug offences at music festivals.
“We’re asked not to give a conviction for young people on a first offence, but we have people dying,” the Magistrate said.
The Magistrate also said he wanted to quash the notion that anybody can come to court on a first offence and walk away with a “slap on the wrist.”
All five women received a conviction on their permanent records and were placed on Community Release Orders.
The sixth woman, Olivia Dominish, of Ashtonville, was accused of attempting to smuggle 10 MDMA capsules into the festival, but her lawyer disputed the police facts surrounding her case, and the matter was adjourned to Maitland Local Court.
There was no suggestion that, aside from Mills and the Christensen sisters, the women were known to each other.
Over the coming weeks, the rest of the 50 accused will front court.
Another 60 people are also expected to front court after being charged with driving with illicit drugs in their system after leaving the festival.

Court case, Jan 23
Police notes, Jan 23
Dilon Luke, Journalist

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