Our client is a 27-year-old apprentice plumber from Sydney.
Police observed him walking along a footpath with another person outside a popular annual music festival. As our client was adjusting his pants, a single brown pill fell out of his pocket onto the ground. Police saw this, approached and showed him identification. Our client then handed the pill to police, admitting it was ‘ecstacy’.
Police asked whether he had any other pills, and our client produced a bag containing another five ecstasy pills. Police then searched him and found another bag containing 6 more ecstasy pills. He made admissions to police that he was going to give some of the pills to his girlfriend and friends, which amounts to ‘drug supply’ under the law.
In total, our client was found with 12 ecstasy pills. As this is well above the ‘trafficable quantity’ of 0.75 grams – and the fact our client admitted intending to supply pills to others – our client was charged with ‘deemed supply’, which means he was taken to have the drugs upon him for the purpose of supply.
Our client pleaded guilty in the Local Court and, because the quantity was also above the ‘strictly indictable’ weight of 1.25 grams, the case proceeded to the District Court.
Our client told us he saw several criminal lawyers who each advised him that it was not possible to avoid a criminal conviction for a ‘deemed supply’ for so many ecstacy pills. In our view, that advice was contrary to several authorities in the NSWCCA and District Court which make it clear that higher courts can, and indeed have, exercised discretion under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 not to record a criminal conviction for the supply of several ecstacy tablets (see especially R v Mauger).
We assisted our client to prepare a range of favourable materials, including character references, a letter of apology and evidence that he may lose his job upon receiving a criminal record.
In the District Court, the prosecutor presented several cases which state that a prison sentence is appropriate in circumstances similar to that of our client.
In addition to the subjective materials, we presented cases to the contrary and argued at length that it was appropriate for the court to deal with our client by way of a section 10 good behaviour bond.
In the result, the Judge was persuaded to exercise her discretion and place our client on an 18-month bond without recording a criminal conviction against him.
He looks forward to continuing his career and establishing his own business in the future.