It appears you can buy justice in NZ now

It appears you can buy justice in NZ, and it only costs you $30,000 to avoid a conviction for drug dealing.

The gangs will be so pleased to know this.

An online personal trainer who pleaded guilty to drug dealing will be discharged without conviction after arguing he had become a “brand” since his offending.

Josef Rakich, 23, the owner of JosefRakichFitness.com, appeared for sentence in the High Court in Auckland today after pleading guilty to selling and conspiring to sell the Ecstasy-like drug mephedrone.

Justice Ailsa Duffy said she would discharge Rakich without conviction after defence lawyer Adam Couchman pointed out that the offending occurred in 2011 but his client was not arrested until 2013.

The drug dealing occurred “when he was 20 years old with nothing”, Couchman said.

Since then, Rakich had built a successful and lucrative on-line personal-training and menu-plan business that employed seven people.

“The defendant is his own brand. It’s him that people want to see,” Couchman said.  

Rakich’s website and Facebook site are full of pictures of the fitness buff in various muscle-bound states and showing off the rewards for his success – including a Lamborghini Gallardo.

The company’s sales had grown from $6000 in 2011 to more than $807,000 in 2013, of which $476,000 was profit, the judge said.

Rakich applied for a discharge on the grounds it would count against his entry to the United States.

Create a brand, after the fact, wait for justice to take its time, pay a fine and walk away without ant conviction.

Watch for Black Power Inc. and Mongrel Mob Limited top create some brands and pay some fines from their ill-gotten gains to avoid prison.

Justice Duffy said Rakich had sold 200 pills and conspired to sell 2600 pills but the “real and appreciable risk” of his business collapsing meant a conviction was out of proportion to the offending.

“A conviction would put an end to all you have achieved,” she said.

Rakich will be formally discharged without conviction tomorrow after he donates $30,000 to charity as an expression of his remorse.

A dud judge obviously.

 

– Fairfax

 


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  • Bayman

    Read this and am really in two minds.

    On the one hand, the offending was historic and he’s clearly turned his life around, is an employer and pays a decent amount in taxes one would assume.

    On the other justice not only needs to be done, it needs to be seen to be done.

    Also, unlike a lot of others he is very very unlikely to reoffend given his success in his business.

    Yep, I really can’t make my mind up.

    • EvoDriver

      “Oh, but m’lord, I only dealt the drugs so that I had the money to start an online business where people perv at my spectacular muscles”.

      Oh ok then. Case dismissed.

      • Bayman

        I get that I really do. But as I said am really in two minds.

        What is jail for? Punishment and rehabilitation?

        Well he’s clearly rehabilitated – is more punishment other than being ‘outed’ going to serve any purpose??

        • EvoDriver

          There is a small part of me that can see it the judge’s way… a very small part… but it just seems to me to create a very dangerous precedent.

    • Justsayn

      There was no name suppression – all is known already, recorded forever on the net, and any impact on his business is already happening – the only thing the Judge has saved him is a conviction on his record and the minor hassles that could bring with it from those that would worry about this (hassles that others have the right to impose if they see fit, like getting a visa in advance to enter the US).

      • metalnwood

        Looking at his website it seems that a lot of his followers or facebook likes must be from overseas, 1.8M of them cant be from NZ so most likely will never have any idea. Even in NZ, most of his clients will probably never see any press about it.

        I had a look at the website, phrases like ‘Get ripped’ etc. I always wondered where I would end up if I dared to click on any of those adverts that pop up on various sites.

  • EvoDriver

    This, and the jawbreaker who got off because a conviction would hurt a future *potential* sporting career make me so mad.

  • johcar

    The least the judge could have done should have been to confiscate the Lambo…

  • Justsayn

    A part of what I dislike about this is that our judges seem to think it should be up to them who the US (in this case) should or should not let in. Is it not their job to circumvent the US having the rules it wants to.

    The same logic applies to many of the reasons we hear of for discharges without conviction – be it the desire to be an Olympian, or to be the Maori King.

  • Johnny Smear

    Standard Qualification for Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry policy analyst,

  • HunuaRanger

    Off scot free and a $30k tax deduction, Yep justice is blind. Yeah right.

  • IKIDUNOT

    His employees (and their families) will be pleased the business can continue operating I reckon…

    • Damon Mudgway

      I don’t know if I’m that fluffy about someone not getting a drug dealing conviction because it may impact their business. I mean why have laws in the first place?

  • Rick H

    Does anybody actually know whether he’s still dealing, using his “online store” as a front? and whether or not any of the 400-plus k profit was from that?
    It’s been done before, many times.

    • Damon Mudgway

      He is almost certainly still dealing illicit drugs of some type. Basically another scum bag drug dealer thumbing his nose at the system.

      Mark my words, Mr Plod will not have finished with this guy yet.

  • Eddie

    Does he get to choose the charity? Perhaps he might just quickly become the next director of a not-for-profit.

  • jay

    I’ve trained in gyms all my life. This guy’s is carrying about 10 kilos more muscle than its possible for a natural bodybuilder of his height to carry. His entire business therefore is built on illicit drugs since he uses his own image to market it.

    Drug use in gyms rife in NZ, but the police are sadly not able to put any resource into policing it as other drugs take priority.

    He was only caught thanks to the merest chance, I doubt he will ever be caught again even if he is still dealing. I am 100% certain however that he is still using.

  • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

    This really anoys me. So if I (joe average) gets busted doing something wrong (lets say DIC) I get slammed with the full weight of the law (loose my licences – thats the law) because I am effectively nobody and pay a fine. As a professional truck driver I would be jobless and potentially broke.

    But if I am a sports person/business man who travels overseas and I can demonstrate that I might loose the ability to compete or make money because of my conviction I can get away with it… Oh and if I am lucky I can get name suppression too so no one will ever know.

    One rule for some and another for others. I wonder if there is a list of judges and their standings from Hanging judges to soggy bus ticket types?

    • idbkiwi

      Totally agree, Whodunnit. Seems like it’s justice for thee but not for me, I get away scot-free….
      If an offender can kick a football, if they travel in their job, tell jokes for a living, are doing a law degree…etc “the consequences far outweigh the offense” They walk away laughing, the joke’s on us.

    • Mark

      I have long been a keen motorcyclist & shooter & I have been a professional driver for 50% of my working life.
      Because I knew the things I wanted to do & the supposed issues I would have if I broke the law I avoided drinking & driving,I never have tried marijuana,didn’t buy the illegal guns I wanted.
      Over the years I have seen things turned completely on their head,pretty glad I do not have kids,how on earth would you convince then to stay out of trouble & keep their noses clean? All around them are people living fast & loose & reaping the rewards,or slight inconveniences if it all goes wrong.
      It annoys the hell out of me too.
      I am still a law abiding citizen,there are plenty of days I wonder why I bother.

  • Beetle

    Watch out for Philipsmithfitness.com opening soon. Possibly with branches in Brazil. There might even by philipsmithhairpiece.com as a side-line business.

  • Chris W

    Lot’s of people with bright futures are given a second chance after committing crimes not against-the-person, especially if they were young at the time and have made something of themselves in the intervening period, and if the conviction would to derail them.

    The judge made the right call.

  • Wahbonnah

    Put surely he used the proceeds of his drug dealing tohelp setup the business that’s made him “famous.”

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