The following drug charge article was written by a practicing criminal lawyer with experience in drug charges. For information on other drugs charges, visit our Drug Charges home page.
What the law says
Section 8 of the Drug Misuse Act 1986 states:
A person who unlawfully produces a dangerous drug is guilty of a crime.
What the police must prove
In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.
- That the accused “produced”. Section 4 of the Drugs Misuse Act defines this to include doing, offering or doing anything in the furtherance of preparing, manufacturing, cultivating, packaging or producing. Harvesting a drug is included in this definition.
- It is a dangerous drug.
It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.
Maximum penalties of imprisonment will depend on the type of drug you have produced and the quantities you have produced it in.
The Drugs Misuse Regulations 1987 divides dangerous drugs into more serious Schedule 1 drugs (eg. Amphetamine, Cocaine, Heroin, Ecstasy) and less serious schedule 2 drugs (eg Cannabis, Barbital). The regulations then set out specified quantities of the drugs in schedules 3 and 4.
The following table sets out maximum lengths of imprisonment:
|Type of drug||Above those listed in Schedule 4||Above those listed in Schedule 3||Other Cases (lesser quantities)|
|Schedule 1||25 Years||25 Years
20 if drug dependant
Nb. must be below schedule 4 amounts
|Schedule 2||n/a||20 years||15 Years|
Factors which will influence the length of sentence will be:
- the size of the plantation, the sophistication of the project and its potential for profit;
- whether the production is for commercial gain or own use;
- the planning involved , the professionalism, and the degree of criminality or wickedness which is discernible;
- whether the offender is a principal, or (scaling downwards) a profit sharer, paid worker, or mere peripheral helper;
- the period over which the offender has been engaged in criminal enterprise;
- whether the offender has any prior convictions, especially of a criminal nature;
- Special factors common to most sentencing procedures, such as assistance to the police, early pleas etc.
Which court will hear the matter
Under section 13 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 certain (less serious with maximum penalties of less than 15 years) offences can be dealt with summarily in the Magistrates Court. These will be producing charges of schedule 2 drugs in quantities of dangerous drugs less than the amounts specified in schedule 3 of the Drugs Misuse Regulations.
Other (more serious) offences will be indictable and will be heard in the Supreme Court.
Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to:
- That the production was lawful;
- That this thing produced was not a dangerous drug;
- That the actions of the Defendant did not amount to production.