Case facts

Our client was charged with possession of prohibited drug having attended a party cruise and left the ship in possession of an ecstasy tablet. Partygoers had to walk past a drug detection dog. One might logically think that the dog was conducting a search using its nose, on behalf of police.

To conduct a search, police must suspect on reasonable grounds that the person may be in possession of a prohibited drug [see section 21(1)(d) Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002]. The Supreme Court in the case of Darby v DPP (2004) 61 NSWLR 185 found that the sniffer dog was merely sniffing the airwaves giving rise to an ‘indication’ by the dog providing police with reasonable suspicion to then search. The client was charged by way of Field Court Attendance Notice and was required to attend at the Downing Centre Local Court.


Subjective circumstances

The client had only just recently finished her University studies and was in the process of looking for work in communications and media. She was currently on a Bridging Visa with a pending Permanent Resident Application and was concerned about the possible ramifications for that Application.


Potential penalties

Our client was charged with possess prohibited drug under s.10(1) of the Drug Misuse & Trafficking Act 1985. Where the matter is dealt with in the Local Court, the maximum penalty which can be imposed is a fine of $2,200 and/or 2 years imprisonment. Local Court Proceedings:

After handing up reference material and making lengthy submissions on the effect a drug conviction could have on her visa and permanent resident status, as well as being her first time before the court, the small quantity of the prohibited drug, the Magistrate dismissed the matter under s.10(1)(a) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. This meant the client was not convicted of the offence and the matter was dismissed unconditionally. This meant the client was not required to enter into any period of good behaviour bond, which is often imposed by a court.


Why you need an expert criminal defence lawyer

Possess prohibited drug is extremely prevalent in our society. In order to obtain a great result you will require a solicitor that has excellent knowledge of the law relating to such matters including excellent preparation and advocacy skills. A conviction for drug possession can affect employment, insurance, travel and immigration. Our experienced criminal defence lawyers and accredited specialist in criminal law can help you achieve the best result possible.


Our Sydney Drug Lawyers are committed to excellence in defending criminal charges. Contact us if you require assistance.