Drug Supply – An Overview

Supply Prohibited Drug is a serious offence that is treated as such by the courts. The three common ‘supply’ offences found in the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act are:

1. Supply Prohibited Drug:  s 25(1)

2. Ongoing Supply:  s 25A

3. Deemed Supply:  s 29

Supply Prohibited Drug

Under section 25 Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act it is an offence to supply, or knowingly take part in the supply of, a prohibited drug.

‘Supply’ is given an extensive definition, covering almost any other involvement in the process including:

  • Selling and distributing
  • Agreeing to supply
  • Offering to supply
  • Keeping or having in possession for supply
  • Sending, forwarding, delivering or receiving for supply
  • Authorising, directing, causing, suffering, permitting or attempting any of those acts or things.

Maximum penalties

The penalty depends on the type and quantity of prohibited drugs. Penalties for some of the more common prohibited drugs are found in the table below:

Quantity

Cannabis leaf

Cocaine

Heroin

MDMA/

Ecstasy

Penalty

Small

30g

1g

1g

0.25g

Local Court

2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500

District Court

15 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $220,000

Traffickable

300g

3g

3g

0.75g

Local Court

2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $11,000

District Court

15 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $220,000

Indictable

1kg

5g

5g

1.25g

District Court

15 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $220,000

Commercial

25kg

250g

250g

125g

District Court

20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $385,000

Large commercial

100kg

1kg

1kg

0.5kg

District Court

Life imprisonment and/or a fine of $550,000

Sentencing for supply of prohibited drugs

There are a number of well-established principles that courts follow when sentencing for supply of prohibited drug matters:

1. Unless there are truly exceptional circumstances present, a full-time custodial sentence ought to be imposed wherever the offender has been substantially involved in the supply of prohibited drugs: R v Blanco.

2. Exceptional circumstances permitting a non-custodial sentence were considered in R v Pickett where the accused had voluntarily ceased the offending and moved interstate to separate himself from the persons with whom he had been involved.

3. User/dealers are at the lower level of criminality than a trafficker for greed: R v Tulloh. If the accused is not a user of drugs they are placed into the worst category of supplier: R v Liang.

4. The role of the offender and the level of his or her participation is more important than the quantity of drugs involved: R v MacDonnell. Despite this, however, it does not follow that a person who plays a less important part in the supply of drugs will necessarily receive a less serious sentence than a person more involved, because the trafficking in drugs requires middlemen and couriers: R v Tight.

5. To supply drugs to school children is a serious aggravating feature of the offence: R v Coleman.

Ongoing Supply

It is an offence under section 25A Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act to supply a prohibited drug (other than cannabis) on three (3) or more separate occasions within a 30 day period. The maximum penalty for this charge is 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $385,000.

Deemed Supply

Section 29 Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act states that an accused who has in his or her possession an amount of prohibited drug which is at least the traffickable quantity shall be deemed to have the prohibited drug in his possession for the purposes of supply unless the accused proves on the balance of probabilities that the drugs were for personal use, not supply.

Supply Prohibited Drug is a much more serious offence than Possess Prohibited Drug, carrying maximum penalties of over 15 years imprisonment. If you have been charged with Supply Prohibited Drug it is essential that you seek legal representation immediately.

What amounts to a ‘traffickable quantity’ differs for each type of drug. Some of the most common prohibited drugs are listed below:

Prohibited plant/drug

Traffickable quantity

Cannabis Leaf

300g

Cocaine

3g

Heroin

3g

MDMA/Ecstasy

0.75g

A person can be charged with ‘deemed’ supply simply because he has in his possession more than the traffickable quantity of a prohibited drug. There need not be any other evidence of drug supply. Of course it will help your case if there is no evidence of supply, such as multiple mobile phones, small resealable bags and large sums of money.

What should I do if I have been charged with Supply Prohibited Drug?

If you have been changed with Supply Prohibited Drug there are a number of ways we can assist you in the court process. You may have a defence available so wish to plead not guilty and take the matter to hearing. Alternatively you may wish to plead guilty – in which case one of our criminal defence lawyers will make submissions on your behalf on sentence.

Do not delay in calling Nyman Gibson Miralis for a free conference. We will be able to advise you on the best course of action in your specific circumstances, the likely costs involved and the expected time frame until completion.

Nyman Gibson Miralis has an accredited criminal law specialist and all of our criminal defence lawyers practice exclusively in criminal law. We have offices in Sydney and Parramatta and travel to courts all over NSW.