Drug trafficking fugitive praised for going on the run
A MAGISTRATE has praised a convicted drug trafficker who went on the run from police for seven years, for "turning his life around".
At age 23, Dylan Bailey was an ice addict charged with drug trafficking and facing serious jail time.
He had already done four stints in prison and as his court day approached he panicked, cut ties with his family, left his Townsville home and went on the run.
For seven years he lived a new life, free from drugs and crime.
He met a woman, eventually settled in Brisbane, had three children and started work in the hotel industry.
Mr Bailey said he had thought about handing himself in, but didn't want to leave his partner, who knew his history, or his children.
But one day last month that all changed when police were called to his home for a noise complaint and soon realised who he was.
The 30-year-old was arrested, charged and kept in custody for 25 days until two court appearances last week.
On Wednesday Mr Bailey pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. He was handed a three-year sentence, with immediate parole.
The next day he appeared in Cleveland Magistrate Court on a string of summary traffic and drug offences. He was convicted and received a three-month licence suspension.
Magistrate Deborah Vasta called Mr Bailey a "shining example" for his ability to break away from his former life.
"It takes a hell of a lot of guts to sever ties with your family," she said.
"You have pretty much done yourself what any corrective services order would have tried to do."
During his seven years on the run, Mr Bailey said he felt like a "cloud" was following him.
"It's been a journey but here we are at the end of it, thank God," he said.
He was living a new life, but he was unable to get a licence, or take his kids on holidays and he was spending $200 a week in Ubers just to get to work.
Mr Bailey said he was relieved to finally be caught.
"I wanted it out of the way for a long time, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it," he said.
"My biggest worry was leaving my family behind. I just couldn't leave them.
"Coming home from work and having them run out yelling 'dad' and giving me a big cuddle, it's the best feeling in the world.
"Nothing in that world back then even compares to that feeling."
Mr Bailey said it was his longing to give his three children a better life that made it so easy for him to break away from that world.
"The best way I was able to escape it was disconnecting myself from everybody involved, absolutely everybody," he said.
Magistrate Vasta said she appreciated that he was trying to stop the cycle.
"I see families sometimes … where both parents are in jail and I can already write this child's history," she said.
"You really are a shining example to me. It's so refreshing to see someone who actually has rehabilitated.
"I would love to see you write a book about how you did it … because we need more success stories like yourself."
Mr Bailey must report weekly to a parole officer for the next three years.