The Various Drug Supply Charges

Under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, there are a range of drug supply charges that you can face depending on the type of drug that is being supplied and the number of occasions on which supply has occurred. These drug supply charges include:

Supply

Section 25(1) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 states

A person who supplies, or who knowingly takes part in the supply of, a prohibited drug is guilty of an offence.

Supply on ongoing basis

Section 25A Offence of supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis

  1. A person who, on 3 or more separate occasions during any period of 30 consecutive days, supplies a prohibited drug (other than cannabis) for financial or material reward is guilty of an offence.Maximum penalty: 3,500 penalty units or imprisonment for 20 years, or both.
  2. A person is liable to be convicted of an offence under this section whether or not the same prohibited drug is supplied on each of the occasions relied on as evidence of commission of the offence.

Deemed Supply

Section 29 states that

A person who has in his or her possession an amount of prohibited drug, which is not less than the traffickable quantity of the prohibited drug shall, for the purposes of this division, be deemed to have the prohibited drug in his possession for supply, unless

  1. The person proves otherwise that he or she had the prohibited drug in his or her possession otherwise than for supply; or
  2. Except where the prohibited drug is prepared opium, cannabis leaf, cannabis oil, cannabis resin, heroin or 6-monoacetylmorphine or any other acetylated derivatives of morphine, the person proves that he or she obtained possession of the prohibited drug on and in accordance with the prescription of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, midwife practitioner, dentist or veterinary practitioner.

The quantities of the more commonly prosecuted prohibited drugs can be set out in this table.

Prohibited plant or drug Traffickable quantity Small quantity Indictable Quantity
Amphetamine 3.00 g 1.00 g 5.00 g
Cannabis Leaf 300.00 g 30.00 g 1000.00 g
Cocaine 3.00 g 1.00 g 5.00 g
Heroin 3.00 g 1.00 g 5.00 g

Supply Prohibited Drug Definition

Drug supply includes selling, distributing, agreeing to supply, offering to supply, keeping or having in possession for supply, sending or forwarding, developing or receiving for supply or authorising direction causing suffering permitting or attempting any of those acts.

Which Court?

The amount of the prohibited drug will determine which court will hear the matter.

If the amount of the prohibited drug exceeds the traffickable quantity, this matter is strictly indictable and must be heard by the District Court.

However, if the amount of the prohibited drug does not exceed the indictable or traffickable quantity, then either you or the prosecution can elect to have the matter dealt with in the district court. The matter will be dealt with in the local court if no election is made.

Supply Prohibited Drug Penalty

The maximum penalties for supplying prohibited drug are displayed in the table below.

Quantity

Maximum penalty
Not more than small quantity(Table 2 offence) Dealt with summarily (Local Court)

  1. 2 years imprisonment; and/or
  2. 50 penalty unit fine ($5 500)

On indictment (District Court)

  1. 15 years imprisonment; and/or
  2. 2000 penalty unit fine ($220 000)
More than small quantity, but not more than indictable quantity(Table 1 Offence) Dealt with Summarily (Local Court)

  1. 2 years imprisonment; and/or
  2. 100 penalty unit fine ($11 000)

On indictment (District Court)

  1. 15 years imprisonment; and/or
  2. 2000 penalty unit fine ($220 000)
More than indictable quantity, but not more than commercial quantity Must be dealt with in the District Court

  1. 15 years imprisonment; and/or
  2. 2000 penalty unit fine ($220 000)

Previous cases have shown us that when an offender has been substantially involved in the supply of prohibited drugs, a custodial sentence (imprisonment) is usually imposed unless there are ‘truly exceptional circumstances’. (R v Blanco) This shows how seriously the courts take Drug Trafficking Laws. Conveying these ‘truly exceptional circumstances’ will be much easier with legal representation.

Guilty

Supplying drug is a very serious offence and if the Court finds that you are supplying to a substantial degree, then the starting point will be a gaol term.

Not Guilty

For you to be convicted of supplying a prohibited drug, the prosecution will need to prove that you:

  1. supplied or knowingly took part in the supply of
  2. a prohibited drug

The prosecution must prove each of these elements beyond reasonable doubt.

The List prohibited drugs is available from the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 in Schedule 1.  If you require more information please contact the Partners from Benjamin & Leonardo Criminal Defence Lawyers.

If you decide to plead not guilty, a brief of evidence will be served. This brief contains all the evidence the police will use to try and convict you for supplying the drug. When considering pleading guilty or not guilty, you should carefully examine the brief and each piece of evidence the police have against you. This can be where the legal expertise of Benjamin & Leonardo Criminal Defence Lawyers can assist you, long before the commencement of any trial.  You may choose to change your plea from not guilty to guilty. After your plea is confirmed, a date is set aside for a hearing.

At a defended hearing, witnesses are present in court to give oral evidence, explaining the events in their own words. These witnesses can include police witnesses, experts and any civilians who can offer insight. Then your legal team will have the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses. You will also have an opportunity to give evidence at the hearing, and be cross-examined by the prosecution. However, you also have the option not to testify and the prosecution cannot ask you any questions during the trial.

Supply Prohibited Drug Defences

Section 25 (4) provides a defence to supply prohibited drug:

Nothing in this section renders unlawful the supply of a prohibited drug by:

(a) a person licensed or authorised to do so under the Poisons Act 1966, or

(b) a person acting in accordance with an authority granted by the secretary of the Department of Health where the secretary is satisfied that the supply of the prohibited drug is for the purpose of scientific research, instruction, analysis or study, or

(c) a person acting in accordance with direction given by the Commissioner of Police under Section 39RA, or renders unlawful the taking part by any other person in the supply of a prohibited drug by a person to whom paragraph (a), (b) or  (c) applies.

Other defences may include necessity and duress.

A legal defence requires significant work of a legal team. Legal representation will aid your understanding of the process and give you peace of mind that your best interests are being taken care of. As experts in their field, Benjamin & Leonardo Criminal Defence Lawyers can help you with all you legal needs. They will carefully dissect your brief, consider whether to issues subpoenas and stand up for your rights.

The Partners at Benjamin & Leonardo Criminal Defence Lawyers have a wealth of experience in appearing in Court for both sentence hearings and defended hearings.

Regardless of whether you plead guilty or not guilty, the Partners at Benjamin & Leonardo Criminal Defence Lawyers will ensure that your case receives the preparation and consideration it requires to give you every chance obtaining the right result.

Charges such as “possess prohibited drug” – more commonly known as drug possession – can also accompany the charge of supply prohibited drug.

If you or someone you know has been charged with either of these offences, please contact Benjamin & Leonardo Criminal Defence Lawyers for your FREE conference.

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