Christopher Mark Jensen, who was unhappily in love on reality TV show Married At First Sight, has left court with a new bride-to-be after escaping prison for drug dealing.
Jensen, 34, walked out of Brisbane High Court hand-in-hand with his fiancee Tayla Made after being given a suspended sentence thanks to his “extraordinary” case.
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The court heard Jensen has been out on bail with serious charges for nearly five years — a period that included his MAFS stint in 2021.
Judge Paul Freeburn said Friday the charges would normally result in a jail sentence but believed Jensen’s affair had “extraordinary” circumstances.
His fiancée hugged his mother in court as Jensen received a suspended sentence before quickly leaving together, avoiding waiting media.
Jensen was 29 when he was arrested in October 2017 during Queensland Police’s Operation Papa Argyle, which targeted drug trafficking on the Sunshine Coast.
Police discovered Jensen bought large quantities of mainly cannabis and occasionally cocaine and MDMA and sold them to his own customers over a four-month period, the court heard.
“The defendant was then nicknamed ‘Dreads’ because of his dreadlock haircut,” said Crown Prosecutor Michael Andronicus.
Through an encrypted messaging app with suppliers and customers, he received a total of 49 pounds, or about 22 kg, of cannabis for sale to an employee from June to October 2017.
Jensen was arrested when a police search of his Sunshine Coast home found cannabis and $5,800 in cash.
“These were significant quantities dumped in a short period of time – it can best be described as an intense period of human trafficking,” Mr Andronicus said.
Jensen – who had no criminal record – has since been out on bail, allowing him to appear in MAFS.
Despite a short-lived romance with his on-screen bride, Jaimie Gardner, he became a fan favorite.
Jensen – a licensed plumber – also worked while he was on bail to support his two children from a previous relationship, defense attorney Alastair McDougall said.
Jensen has also donated his modeling time to various charities, he said.
Mr McDougall said Jensen first turned to cannabis after sustaining a back injury in a skateboarding accident in 2016 but has been drug free since his arrest.
He described Jensen’s wait for sentencing as “probably the longest” he’s ever seen.
Judge Freeburn said it was a “puzzle” why it took so long.
“You were arrested four years and 10 months ago on these charges,” he said.
“I’m just having trouble understanding the delay. It seems extraordinary that we are sitting here dealing with events that happened in 2017.
“Normally I would impose a term of imprisonment for this type of serious offense… (but) I think this is an exceptional case.”
Jensen pleaded guilty to two counts of supplying a dangerous drug and one count of trafficking a dangerous drug.
He was sentenced to four years in prison, which was immediately suspended for four years.
https://7news.com.au/entertainment/tv/drug-dealing-reality-tv-star-avoids-jail-despite-intense-period-of-trafficking-c-7937679 MAFS star Mark Jensen leaves court with Tayla Made after escaping prison in drug case