Solicitors: Andrew Hanlon
Court: Brisbane Magistrates Court
Date: November 2021
Andrew Hanlon acted for a client charged with an offence of driving with a relevant substance (Methylamphetamine) present in his blood or saliva.
This would be the client’s sixth conviction for this offence in the past six years. He had previously been sentenced to a range of fines, a period of probation and had his driver’s licence disqualified for numerous periods.
Following our advice our client engaged in drug counselling over several months and obtained regular urine drug screens to demonstrate his abstinence from drug use.
We obtained a letter from our client’s counsellor to submit to the court at sentence along with his negative urine drug screens.
At sentence the prosecution submit that in light of our clients numerous previous convictions for the same offence a sentence of imprisonment was appropriate in the circumstances.
The sentencing Magistrate gave a preliminary indication that he was minded to agree with this submission, and indicated to Mr Hanlon that he would need to be convinced why imposing a sentence of imprisonment was not appropriate.
Mr Hanlon then made detailed submissions on our clients behalf. He commenced by stating that under the relevant sections of the Penalties and Sentences Act a sentence of imprisonment could only be imposed as a ‘sentence of last resort’ for offences of this nature, and that other sentencing options were still open to the court in the circumstances.
Mr Hanlon addressed the court on our client’s personal circumstances, his previous history and his efforts towards rehabilitation. He submitted that sentencing our client to a term of imprisonment would risk disrupting his rehabilitation and cause hardship to his young family for whom he was the main breadwinner.
Ultimately Mr Hanlon submitted that a further period of probation, accompanied by a period of driver licence disqualification, was the appropriate penalty in the circumstances.
After considering the submissions made on behalf of the prosecution and defence the Magistrate ultimately accepted Mr Hanlon’s submissions and sentenced our client to a period of 30 months’ probation along with imposing a driver licence disqualification for 9 months.
Why does this case study matter?
By providing our client with advice regarding proper preparations for sentence and making persuasive submissions in court on his behalf, we were able to achieve an outcome that avoided the need for our client to serve any time in prison.
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.