A former contestant on The Bachelor has narrowly avoided a jail sentence after pleading guilty to drug supply charges.
Georgia Tripos fronted Victoria's County Court in relation to charges of supplying cocaine and ethylpentylone as well as knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.
Police caught onto the 29-year-old after an acquaintance of hers was captured selling prohibited drugs to an undercover officer.
Tripos was sentenced to a community corrections order for a period of 3 years.
Georgia Tripos caught supplying drugs on craigslist
Tripos and her co-accused, Kristiana Karakostas, used online advertising site Craigslist between February 2017 and March 2017 to advertise “party needs”.
“Tickets sorted? Grab some White VIP for $350. Sort out your weekend properly,” one of the advertisements posted on the site reads.
It was in fact a guise for them to sell cocaine.
The pair even referred to themselves as ‘The Mafia' in text messages while brazenly advertising the drugs on the website.
According to the Police facts, they had written the ad in code that drug seeking customers would clearly understand.
Unfortunately for them, Police also understood the code and commenced a sting operation.
Karakostas delivered the drugs in a white BMW and told the detective that she “had better stuff coming.” Forensic analysis later showed she had short-changed the officer 0.1 of a gram.
The glamorous women sold almost 70 grams of cocaine from February 2 to March 10, with many of the sales coming through their Craigslist advertisements.
After Karakostas' arrest at their real estate agency, Tripos drove by her friend's house twice during a police search. She was followed and arrested at a nearby football club carpark.
Police found $3,136.70 cash in her car. They then executed a search warrant at her suburban home found $3,350 in a safe, resealable bags containing a white powder with one containing 0.1 grams of cocaine. There were also cocaine purity test kits found in another bathroom.
A phone was analysed and police found 49 texts related to drug sales or offers to sell cocaine between February and March 2019.
In total police estimated 68.5 grams of the drug was sold. She was charged with knowingly deal with proceeds of crime in relation to the cash.
They also discovered a large quantity of ethylpentylone which is a substituted cathinone and stimulant drug which was developed in the 1960s.
At her sentencing hearing, Ms Tripos' drug supply lawyers told the court that she had made an “impressive” effort to turn her life around since her arrest.
She had undergone drug rehabilitation and gone on to start her own beauty salon business.
Judge Irene Lawson agreed and commended Tripos on her efforts to rehabilitate herself. The County Court Judge also expressed concern over the level of media attention the case had received.
“I do appreciate the efforts that you've made to date and I do accept that you have been the subject of extraordinary media scrutiny and that also must of had a major impact upon you and that is something that would be hard to deal with, but you've shown that you've got the courage of your convictions and you've really worked hard,” she said.
“You have done so well over the intervening period from the time of your arrest to now so I've got every confidence that provided you draw on those resources that you have built around you in the community that you should be able to get through this order.”
Tripos thanked Judge Lawson, saying, “I can't thank you enough for giving me that confidence as well your honour. Although it's been tough, it's been the best thing for me because it's put me back on the right path and I'm so lucky that I have the family that I have as well and I'll continue for the rest of my life to repay them for this.”
Criminal defence lawyers appearing for Tripos spoke of her being raised by a heroin addicted father who left her family when she was a child.
His loss had left her feeling a sense of abandonment and rejection, which was compounded by severe bullying in her senior years of high school that forced her to change schools in Year 12.
She then suffered years of substance abuse and equally abusive relationships.
At the time of the offending, Tripos had been addicted to drugs and ‘submerged' in that subculture when she became a dealer herself.
Parity in sentencing
27-year-old Karakostas pleaded guilty to two counts of supply prohibited drugs in June 2020 and received the same penalty. Clearly, the principle of parity played a significant role in the sentencing exercise.
Judge Lawson accepted Tripos had embarked on a joint criminal enterprise with her real-estate co-worker.
The parity principle is the idea that there should be consistency and equality before the law. Like cases should be treated alike (Green v The Queen (2011) 244 CLR 462 at ).
This is designed to guard against an offender having a a justifiable sense of a grievance against a heavier sentence being imposed on them than their co-offender.
Failure to apply the principle of parity can also lead to the appearance that justice has not been done (Lowe v The Queen (1984) 154 CLR 606).
Charged with drug supply?
Both drug supply and drug possession charges are treated very seriously by the Courts. They carry significant jail terms and the risk of a criminal conviction. Despite this, there have been a number of recent examples of people avoiding convictions or beating drug charges completely. Click here to read some cases.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.