201705.22
0

Slades & Parsons Represents woman accused of trafficking drugs of dependance

Deal with suspected Proceeds of Crime

Sentencing

Associate Solicitor Nick Tehan recently represented one of a number of accused charged with trafficking drugs of dependence in a commercial quantity and dealing in suspected proceeds of crime including large quantities of cash and valuables.  The evidence against our client was largely reliant on her own admissions which were extensive. She had made a record of interview without seeking legal advice beforehand.  Methyl amphetamine was found which when weighed was a commercial quantity.

Mr Tehan briefed Senior Counsel at an early stage in proceedings, and extensive negotiations took place at the committal stage.  We were able to demonstrate (after analysis of the evidence) to the Prosecution that even though our client had admitting to possessing the methyl amphetamine, they could not establish that she knew there was a commercial quantity.  Furthermore, we contended that while she knew that the drugs found by police would be trafficked at some later point, they were unable to establish that she had ever trafficked them in the past or intended to do so in the future.

On that basis, we offered for her to plead guilty to one charge of trafficking methyl amphetamine (not  a commercial quantity), on the basis that she possessed the drugs for sale at a later stage by someone else.  The legal definition of trafficking extends to possession for sale.  We also offered for her to plead guilty to possessing cannabis, and dealing suspected proceeds of crime.  This offer was accepted.  Ultimately, this meant that we were able to keep our client’s matter in the Magistrates’ Court, where she pleaded guilty to these significantly less serious charges.

With Senior Counsel, we drafted and filed written submissions outlining the specific factual basis of her plea of guilty and matters pertaining to our client’s personal circumstances.  A bundle of character references and medical materials were tendered.  She received a substantial fine and avoided imprisonment.  

The Magistrates’ Court is unable to hear a trial or a plea hearing in relation to a charge of trafficking in a commercial quantity of drugs. As the prosecution had amended the charge against our client to one of trafficking in a Drug of Dependence, an application on behalf of our client to have the matter proceed in the Magistrates Court was granted and the case proceeded, thus avoiding the matter being sent to the County Court for hearing.

This case reinforces the importance of seeking legal advice at an early stage, prior to speaking with police or giving a record of interview.  It is important to remember that each case will be different and the outcomes will depend on an analysis of the evidence, taking careful instructions from our client and preparation of the case for hearing.