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Possessing property suspected of being the proceeds of a drug offence

Potts Lawyers > Possessing property suspected of being the proceeds of a drug offence

Charges: Possessing property suspected of being the proceeds of a drug offence pursuant to section 10A(1)(d) of the Drugs Misuse Act. The relevant sections are set out below.

Our client was also charged with other drug offences.

Heard at: Gladstone Magistrates Court.

 

Our client was charged with possessing property suspected of being the proceeds of a drug offence pursuant to section 10(1)(d) of the Drugs Misuse Act.

Police alleged that he was the occupier of the house that was subject to a search warrant executed by the police. During the search, police located the sum of $54,000 in cash hidden behind a cavity behind the medicine cabinet of a joint bathroom shared by all occupants of the home.

The police seized the money as part of a wider drug trafficking investigation. The police alleged that  our client was in possession of the money, which they allege was related to a drug trafficking offence.

Our client pleaded not guilty to the charge of possessing property suspected of being the proceeds of a drug offence, which meant the prosecution was required to prove all aspects of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

At trial, the prosecution led evidence that the cash money was located in the bathroom, however the money was not fingerprinted and there were no admissions from our client. Our client had bank statements showing the client legitimately received substantial sums of money.  The prosecution were required to prove that our client had knowledge and control of the cash found.  The prosecution presented a circumstantial case but no evidence led to negative the proposition that  the money could have been possessed by some of the other occupants of the home.

When a circumstantial case is presented, the prosecution must be able to exclude any reasonable hypothesis consistent with innocence, and in the circumstances the court found that they could not do this.

Accordingly, the court found that our client was not guilty and he was acquitted of the charge of possessing property suspected of being the proceeds of a drug offence pursuant to section 10(1)(d) of the Drugs Misuse Act.

This trial took place in the Gladstone Magistrates Court. Our criminal law Director Mark Williams regularly travels to Gladstone and other regional centres throughout Queensland and Northern New South Wales to conduct cases such as these.

The case illustrates the benefits of retaining an experienced criminal lawyer to ensure that rights are protected at the earliest stage of a matter and that a proper and well prepared case is presented to the court in order that the prospects of obtaining the best possible outcome are maximised.

 

DRUGS MISUSE ACT 1986 – SECT 10A

Possessing suspected property

10A POSSESSING SUSPECTED PROPERTY

(1) A person who has in his or her possession any property (other than a dangerous drug, hypodermic syringe or needle) reasonably suspected of—

(a) having been acquired for the purpose of committing an offence defined in this part; or

(b) having been used in connection with the commission of such an offence; or

(c) having been furnished or intended to be furnished for the purpose of committing such an offence; or

(d) being the proceeds of such an offence; or

(e) having been acquired with the proceeds of such an offence; or

(f) being property into which the proceeds of such an offence have, in some other manner, been converted;

who does not give an account satisfactory to the court of how the person lawfully came by or had such property in the person’s possession commits an offence against this Act.

Penalty—

Maximum penalty—2 years imprisonment.

(2) Where the person declares that he or she received the property from some other person or that he or she was employed as a carrier, agent or servant to convey the property to some other person, the court may cause every such person and also, if necessary, every other person through whose possession the property has passed to be brought to the same or another court and examined concerning the property.

(3) A person brought to the court pursuant to subsection (2) who appears to the court to have had possession of the property and to have had reasonable cause to believe the same—

(a) to have been acquired for the purpose of committing an offence defined in this part; or

(b) to have been used in connection with the commission of such an offence; or

(c) to have been furnished or intended to be furnished for the purpose of committing such an offence; or

(d) to be the proceeds of such an offence; or

(e) to have been acquired with the proceeds of such an offence; or

(f) to be property into which the proceeds of such an offence have, in some other manner, been converted;

commits an offence against this Act.

Penalty—

Maximum penalty—2 years imprisonment.

(4) For the purpose of proving the possession of any property it is sufficient to show that the defendant has, either alone or jointly with some other person, aided in concealing the property or disposing of it.

 

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