Disgraced Olympic swimmer Scott Miller has been given a suspended jail sentence for drug possession charges, with a Sydney magistrate telling him “this is your best chance”.
Police will be watching Miller “like a hawk”, magistrate Jan Stevenson told him as she gave the swimmer a 12-month suspended sentence at Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday.
Miller pleaded guilty to two counts of drug possession over separate incidents last year, when he was arrested with various quantities of the drug ice.
The 1996 silver and bronze medallist was arrested at Mascot on June 18 after police found three small bags of ice totalling 1.04g and about $16,000 in cash.
A drug-dealing charge and two charges of goods in custody were later withdrawn.
A month later he was charged after police discovered 7.75g of ice during a search at Potts Point.
Miller has spent the past five months in full-time rehabilitation in Melbourne and has “assiduously” applied himself to the program, which he completed on Tuesday, his lawyer Greg Goold told the court.
“There has been a marked improvement in his mental attitude and his physical wellbeing,” Mr Goold said.
Miller said the large amount of cash discovered by police at Mascot was in relation to his escort agency, but Mr Goold said that business is “dead and buried” now.
Instead, Miller will work on a construction site while he seeks more suitable employment, Mr Goold told reporters outside court.
In sentencing Miller, Ms Stevenson said it was “always difficult dealing with drug addicts”.
She noted Miller had already been given a chance when he pledged to seek help over drug charges in the District Court in 2009 and then failed to do so.
Miller also narrowly avoided jail on that occasion.
He told the court at the time that when his career ended in 2004 he turned to marijuana, ecstasy and partying to numb the pain of “being finished”.
But Ms Stevenson commended Miller for taking action to treat his addiction in the wake of the fresh charges.
“Yes, Mr Miller has had a chance and yes, he’s promised things in the past which he clearly hasn’t done, but he has now had five months of rehabilitation,” Ms Stevenson said.
She handed down two suspended 12-month sentences to run concurrently and placed him on a good behaviour bond.
Miller, who was supported by his partner in court, declined to comment outside court.
Mr Goold said the Olympian was “very, very lucky” to avoid jail and would continue with his rehabilitation.
“He’s got a hard row to hoe in order to stay clean,” Mr Goold told reporters.
“He knows if he offends or breaches his bond in any way he’s going to jail.”