Offences: Possessing and Supplying Dangerous Drugs
Court: Murwillumbah Local Court, New South Wales
Solicitor: Mark Williams
Our client is a paraplegic, who requires the full-time use of a wheelchair which is controlled by the limited movement of his right-hand operating a joy-stick to mobilise the wheelchair.
Our client rented a spare room in his unit and the flatmate was a drug-dealer. Our client was already using cannabis (to make cannabis cookies) but became addicted to methylamphetamine by virtue of his flatmate supplying him this drug.
Our Mr Mark Williams was engaged by our client because Mr Williams also practices in New South Wales and has experience in NSW matters. Our client explained that the police executed a search warrant at the unit and located nearly a kilogram of cannabis cookies and just over 10 grams of methylamphetamine.
Initially the police charged our client with being in possession of a kilogram of cannabis, however after Mr Williams wrote to the police pointing out that the majority of the weight was flour, sugar and eggs, the police reduced the cannabis charge to several grams only.
In New South Wales a charge of supplying dangerous drugs can be imposed simply by virtue of being in possession of such a large amount of drugs. You are ‘deemed to be’ able to supply it simply by virtue of how much you have in your possession. The deemed drug supply provisions are contained in section 29 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act (DMTA). This was the case with our client.
A complicating factor was his speech, his inability to attend the office and his significant criminal history which would, upon being convicted of his fresh offences, see an ordinary person go to prison for 6-9 months.
Mr Williams made special trips to Tweed Heads to meet with our client and his carers, and began collecting a body of medical reports supporting and explaining his condition. Further, Mr Williams impressed upon our client the need to obtain urine tests to demonstrate to the court that he no longer uses drugs and has rehabilitated from drug use.
This occurred over many months and at his sentence in the Murwillumbah Local Court, the material was tendered. It was initially argued that a CCO (Community Corrections Order) could be imposed for both the initial breach of his existing CCO and the new offences, however the court felt that the threshold had been crossed pursuant to section 5 of the Crime (Sentencing Procedure) Act. Under this section, for an offender to be sentenced to ‘full-time’ imprisonment, the court must be satisfied that no penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate. This is known as the Section 5 Threshold.
However, given the condition of our client, the medical material collected and tremendous rehabilitation conducted and facilitated by both Mr Williams and our client, the court agreed that our client could conduct his imprisonment in the community and not spend any time in actual prison. A 12-month ICO (intensive corrections order) was imposed for all offences which was an excellent result in the circumstances.
This is a summary of an actual case. Details have been omitted to protect the privacy of our client. We select cases which are informative and no guarantee is provided that similar results are achievable in all cases. Every case is different and you should obtain legal advice specific to your matter and circumstances.