Drugs


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Aitken Whyte Lawyers Brisbane - Criminal Defence Lawyers And Solicitors for Brisbane, Queensland

Drugs

Drugs
Trafficking in dangerous drugs
Supplying dangerous drugs
Producing Dangerous Drugs
Possessing Dangerous Drugs
Possessing a relevant substance or thing
Drug Diversion Program

Drugs

The Drugs Misuse Act 1986 is the main legislation regarding drugs in Queensland. The Drug Misuse Act relates to the misuse of drugs and contains provisions for the prevention of the misuse of drugs.

Trafficking in dangerous drugs

Section 5 makes it an offence for anyone to carry on the business of unlawfully trafficking dangerous drugs. The maximum penalty varies from 20 – 25 years, depending on the type of drug.

Trafficking - Even one dealing can be enough to constitute trafficking if it is intended to be the first transaction in what is expected to be a continuing activity.  In R v Clarke; Ex parte A-G (1996) 90 A Crim R 1 the appellant was convicted of one count of trafficking, two counts of supplying heroin and seven counts of possessing or supplying cannabis. She pleaded not to the trafficking, but the jury found her guilty. The evidence justified the finding that in the 10 months preceding her arrest the respondent had bought $80,000–$100,000 worth of heroin which she had resold after diluting it and using half of it herself. She was sentenced in respect of the trafficking charge to five years imprisonment.

Supplying dangerous drugs

Section 6 makes it an offence to supply a dangerous drug to another. The maximum penalty varies from 15 to 25 years, depending on the type of dangerous drug and whether the supply is aggravated.

Supply is aggravated if the offender is an adult and supplies the drugs to either a minor, an intellectually impaired person, a person within an educational or correctional facility, or a person whom does not know they are being supplied with drugs.

As defined in section 4 supply means- give, distribute, sell, administer, transport or supply.

Producing Dangerous Drugs

Section 8 makes it an offence for a person to unlawfully produce dangerous drugs. The maximum penalty depends on the type of drugs, quantity of drugs, and whether the person was drug dependant, and ranges from 15 to 25 years.

In R v Geary [2003] 1 Qd R 64 the appellant was convicted with a charge of producing methylamphetamine, with the circumstance of aggravation (regarding the quantity). The charge was brought under the extended definition of "produce" under section 4, where the doing of any act preparatory to or for the purpose of production is deemed to constitute production. In this case there was evidence that the appellant provided people substantial sums of money to enable them to shop for Sudafed tablets throughout North Queensland and a chemist was called by the prosecution to prove that a large amount of methylamphetamine could have been produced from the amount of Sudafed involved. The court held that a circumstance of aggravation could only be established where the actual quantity of the drug produced exceeded the prescribed amount, which did occur in this case.

Possessing Dangerous Drugs

Section 9 makes it an offence for a person to unlawfully possess a dangerous drug. The maximum penalty depends on the type of drugs, quantity of drugs, and whether the person was drug dependant, and ranges from 15 to 25 years.

An example of possession was found in R v Phan [2008] QCA 258, where the appellant owned and occupied a house which the police raided. On searching the premises the police found a quantity of heroin in the concealed compartment of the wardrobe in the study of the house. The appellant denied owning the heroin, however the jury found him guilty of possession.

Possessing a relevant substance or thing

Section 9A makes it an offence to possess a relevant substance or thing. The maximum penalty is 15 years imprisonment.

A relevant substance or thing is; a substance that is or contains a controlled substance, substances that together are or contain a controlled substance or a thing specified in schedule B including; condenser, distillation head, heating mantle, manual or mechanical pill press, including a pill press, reaction vessel, rotary evaporator or a splash head.

Drug Diversion Program

For a minor drug offence the court may offer the guilty party an opportunity to attend or order the guilty party to attend and complete a drug diversion program.

If the court is satisfied that the defendant attended and completed the drug diversion assessment program as required they may strike out the proceeding for the charge of the minor drug offence. However, if the court is satisfied the defendant did not attend and complete the drug diversion assessment program as required, the court may continue to hear the charge of the minor drugs offence and may make any order in relation to the offence the court considers appropriate.

The Drug Diversion programs offer people apprehended for minor drugs offences the opportunity to receive professional help through early intervention and prevention programs rather than proceeding through the normal court process.

Generally a person is eligible to be offered to attend the Drug Diversion program if they are arrested for a minor drug offence, have not committed any other indictable offences in circumstances related to minor drug offence, have not previously been convicted of an offence involving violence and admit to committing the offence.

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