Roland Robert Phillips fought for his country in World War II. He's a good man, described as active in his Australian community of Bondi Junction. But he didn't expect to get arrested in a sting operation. His heinous crime? Pushing Viagra.
After seven years of single life, the 77-year-old pensioner recently got married. In a conscientious mood, hoping to keep his new bride sexually satisfied, he obtained a doctor's prescription and bought 12 Viagra tablets worth $840 (U.S. $491).
As luck would have it, Phillips discovered he didn't need the pills after all. So he decided to sell them. He placed an ad in the Wentworth Courier newspaper, advertising "Viagra for sale. Cheaper." He knew that a person using the drug should be in good health, and had intended to "visually assess" the buyer before selling the tablets. Phillips had no idea he was violating the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act of 1966, which makes it illegal to sell restricted substances.
A pharmaceutical advisor saw the newspaper ad, informed police and then set up what amounted to a Viagra sting operation. The advisor called up the war veteran and asked the price of the Viagra. "Sixty-five dollars [$38], that's for four tablets," Phillips said. "That's about $7 or $8 [$4 or $4.70] cheaper than from a chemist."
The two made a deal, and two days later police knocked on Phillips' door with a search warrant, seizing the 12 tablets.
In court, Phillips pleaded guilty to the charge of supplying a restricted substance. His representative, Margaret Hole, explained that he thought he was acting in the best interests of men everywhere. "He didn't need assistance and ... wished to get some of his money back and thought he could help someone." Hole added that he was "extremely embarrassed and remorseful."
Because it was a first offense, the magistrate was lenient toward the elderly pusher, and waived the maximum penalty of a $2,200 ($1,286) fine or two years in jail. Phillips was given 23 days to reimburse the court costs of $56 ($32.75). It is not known what happened to the evidence.