Court Heard: Southport Magistrates Court
Solicitor: Sinead Garland
Maximum Penalty: 15 years imprisonment
The police were tasked to attend our client’s home in relation to a fire. Upon entering the premises, the police observed:
During the search of our client’s premises, our client was fully co-operative with police. He assisted police with their investigations by identifying where the plants were located.
The potential maximum sentence our client faced on the charges was 15 years imprisonment.
Critically, our client promptly sought legal advice from Sinead Garland of our Gold Coast criminal law office.
Upon reviewing the statement of facts (QP9), it appeared that our client had been charged incorrectly with the wrong offence being producing a relevant substance or thing. This is because cannabis is not defined as a relevant substance under the Act/Regulation. Following successful negotiations with the Police Prosecutions, the charge was amended to the correct charge, being producing dangerous drugs.
Based on our client’s instructions, we arranged for the matter to be resolved on the first occasion by way of an early guilty plea.
Our client advised Ms Sinead Garland that it was important for him not to have a conviction recorded, as he works for an IT company which means that overseas travel is a possibility in the future.
Ms Garland took instructions and made oral submissions to the court which highlighted our clients’ lack of any prior criminal history, his cooperation with police, his early plea at the first opportunity, his remorse and his commitment to undergo treatment to address his sleep apnea which he used cannabis to treat.
In terms of penalty, Ms Garland made submissions in support of an argument that all the circumstances of the offending justified the imposition of a penalty at the lower end of the scale, being a fine or a community based order. Ms Garland also made submissions in support of a request that the Court exercise its discretion by not recording a conviction.
The Magistrate accepted Ms Garland’s submissions and imposed a fine of $600.00, with no conviction recorded. This result illustrates the importance of obtaining early, expert advice from a criminal lawyer capable of analyzing charges, negotiating with the prosecution, identifying proactive steps and the timely finalization of matters to secure optimal outcomes, minimum reputational damage and the minimization of legal costs.
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.