Dealer filmed threat: Ice peddler intimidated drug addict with fake gun

AN ice dealer filmed himself threatening a terrified ice addict with an imitation gun to extort cash from him, a court has heard.

Zachary Beattie, 24, pleaded guilty to charges including trafficking ice, extortion and using an imitation firearm when he faced the Koori County Court sitting in Mildura last week.

The court was shown footage that Beattie filmed of the crime, which showed the victim in tears, cowering on a couch.

Prosecutor Jennifer Taylor told the court Beattie knew the 22-year-old victim, having gone to school with him. The victim had a daily addiction by April this year and purchased the drug off Beattie, at times on credit, the court heard. 

In May, the victim awoke to Beattie and an alleged co-accused slapping his face, demanding $800 he owed for ice. 

They then all got in a car and drove to Beattie’s home, the court heard.

Beattie started asking the victim questions about the cash and said he would make an example out of him. 

He was armed with a gun the victim at the time believed to be real. 

Beattie filmed himself threatening the victim with the imitation gun and pretending to shoot his knee, while the man cowered in fear crying on a couch.

“Zach, please don’t,” the victim begged in the video.

“I was s--tting myself,” the victim told police.

The court heard Beattie put a balaclava on the victim and a co-offender punched him in the face, knocking him off a chair.

The victim called his mother in tears and pleaded for her to provide the money he owed. 

A search warrant was executed on Beattie’s home a few days later when police found 43.8 grams of ice, $10,500 cash and mobile phones.

During the sentencing conversation, Beattie said he was smoking four grams of ice a day and hadn’t slept for 10 days.

He said he used to be good mates with the victim and he was sorry.

“It looks shocking, he was clearly terrified,” Judge Paul Grant said.

“What’s worrying for me as a judge is this is a serious escalation in your offending ... here you’ve taken it to another level.”

Beattie’s defence counsel said he was one of four or five people dealing on that level in the Swan Hill area. 

Beattie was remanded in custody and will be sentenced today.

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