Former NRL star’s guilty plea on drug charges
A JUDGE who attended the funeral of a young drug addict today has slammed former Gold Coast Titans and Brisbane Broncos star Steve Michaels after he pleaded guilty to supplying and possessing cocaine.
Michaels, 31, escaped with community service but not before receiving a severe dressing down from Judge David Kent QC.
Michaels, 31, was one of several high-profile Titans caught up in a Crime and Corruption Commission cocaine trafficking sting that also snared code-hopping star Karmichael Hunt.
Michaels was arrested by police after returning from a rugby league playing stint in the UK in November last year.
He was committed for trial in May but pleaded guilty in Southport District Court today to three counts of supplying cocaine and five counts of possessing the drug.
The court was told Michaels bought thousands of dollars worth of cocaine from now-convicted drug trafficker John Touma eight times between August and October 2014.
He used text messages to Touma including one that read 'the boys are chasing some wine - any chance?'
He arranged to get 11.5 grams of cocaine from Touma for friends including a person named 'Karmichael' and about the same amount of drug for his own use, the court was told.
Crown prosecutor Gary Churchill told the court that while there was 'no commercial element' to Michaels' offending, it involved 'quite significant recreational use'.
Defence barrister Jeff Hunter QC said Michaels' father had died of cancer in 2014 and he was 'not enjoying his football'.
Mr Hunter said there was also a 'culture' of cocaine use among Michaels' peers.
He said Michaels had no criminal record and was now working as a mature age apprentice plumber, earning less than $45,000 a year compared with his $150,000 pay packet as a professional footballer.
Judge Kent said Michaels had committed 'serious criminal conduct' which had a maximum penalty of 20 years' jail.
"I attended the funeral of a young girl this morning who had a drug problem," the judge said.
"I hope you realise the seriousness of all of this. Mr Michaels, it must not be repeated.
"You clearly have a positive side to your nature and you really need to put this behind you, as it appears you have."
Judge Kent sentenced Michaels to 200 hours community service and did not record a conviction.