Former Home and Away Star Spared Jail Time in Drug Trafficking Case


With palpable relief etched across his face, the former Home and Away actor, Putu Sugiarta Winchester-Stanton was seen celebrating a favourable court decision, avoiding full-time imprisonment for his recent involvement in drug trafficking in the tranquil landscape of Byron Bay.

Facing judgement in the NSW District Court this past Wednesday, Winchester-Stanton was charged with possession and distribution of a significant 476g of cocaine within the NSW coastal area, to which he pleaded guilty. Unveiled court documents painted a somber picture of the 46-year-old actor, now embroiled as a key supplier of the illegal substance to numerous customers in the regional confines of Mullumbimby for a span of four months, from January 21st to April 22nd, this year.

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Landing into police custody following a string of stringent raids directed to cease the local cocaine market, evidence emerged of the former Heartbreak High actor’s clandestine dealings via phone taps, surveillance operations, and staged drug transactions with incognito police units.

Court files further suggested a deep-seated affair with drug trade, as Winchester-Stanton candidly resorted to drug sales across the region, driven by personal monetary pursuits. Viewed as a “significant flight risk” during his bail appeal due to an existing history of drug-related affairs, his sentencing was however adjourned by Judge Timothy Gartelmann.

The interim period is slated for a comprehensive sentencing assessment report that will influence the decision of community service as a likely part of his non-jail term. “I’m able to confidently say that, no matter how the sentencing is structured, he won’t be returning to full-time custody,” assured Judge Gartelmann, a statement that saw the actor relax into his seat, a weak smile of relief twitching across his face.

The courtroom, teeming with the actor’s friends, witnessed a collective sigh of relief that day. Winchester-Stanton, standing tall in a crisp white shirt and a classic black suit, was seen sharing a moment of camaraderie with his supporters outside court, expressing his exuberance at dodging a jail sentence. “I feel like a huge weight has been lifted, obviously,” he exclaimed, eager to venture on a “much healthier and more positive lifestyle.”

Despite his brush with law, Winchester-Stanton’s commitment to a more positive trajectory was evident. “I’ve learned how to redirect my trajectory in life through positive thinking,” he confided in reporters, making it clear that he plans to fully utilize this second chance.

With six related charges of illegal drug possession and distribution considered alongside, Winchester-Stanton’s final sentencing is slated for November.

Fame knocked on Winchester-Stanton’s door when he was just 18, securing roles in the widely acclaimed Heartbreak High and Home and Away series, as well as the gritty TV show, Water Rats. His most recent accomplishment includes an applauded performance in the 2018 indie art house film, Hell is Light.

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