Hannibal to carry ‘pain, scars’ for life

Before heading to Sydney’s Harbourlife dance festival Rebecca Hannibal texted her best friend to ask how many ecstasy pills she wanted.


“I’m not taking three … I’d die,” 19-year-old Georgina Bartter replied.

She took one-and-a-half ecstasy pills on that day last November and later died at St Vincent’s hospital of multiple organ failure.

Hannibal, 19, has been convicted of supplying the drugs to Ms Bartter and sentenced to 12 months good behaviour.

“Two young women, close friends, go out to enjoy a music festival,” Judge Graeme Henson told Downing Centre Local Court on Friday.

“They make a foolish decision to buy and consume drugs. Only one comes home.”

Hannibal wept as the sentence was handed down, and embraced her parents in the court room.

In his sentencing, Judge Henson said the tragedy was a result of young people “exploring the uncontrolled world of drugs without regard for what may go wrong”.

Hannibal is now highly depressed, suffers from an anxiety disorder and is at significant risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a psychological assessment found.

“She would do anything to undo her actions, and knows she will carry the pain and scars of what happened for the rest of her life,” Judge Henson read from the assessment.

Hannibal has since moved interstate with her boyfriend to escape the publicity surrounding the incident, the court heard.

Judge Henson said Hannibal deserved a criminal record, saying it was necessary to reduce similar tragedies in the future.

But he acknowledged “the real evil in this case is not present in this courtroom”.

“It lies in the callous indifference of organised criminals who produce these and other types of drugs.

“In full knowledge that their toxic chemical concoctions can from time to time, kill the end user.”

Hannibal in April pleaded guilty to buying the ecstasy pills.

Judge Henson said Ms Bartter could have sourced the drugs herself if Hannibal hadn’t.

“The decision to purchase and take prohibited drugs was one made by the defendant and by Ms Bartter,” he said.

Hannibal told police that on the day of Harbourlife the pair met at Circular Quay and took one-and-a-half pills each as they walked towards the Opera House.

Within two hours Ms Bartter showed signs of distress, and her friend Hannibal called an ambulance.