The client was stopped by police after a sniffer dog or drug detection dog indicated that the accused may be in possession of a prohibited drug. Having that reasonable suspicion to search, police conducted a search which yielded 3 ecstasy tablets. Due to the weight of the drugs exceeding the traffickible quantity, police were entitled to bring police charges for drug supply by virtue of the deemed supply provision under section 29 Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act. However, arresting police were satisfied that the accused had possession of the prohibited drug for personal possession.
A plea of guilty was entered. Local court penalties can include imprisonment for up to two years and a fine of up to $2,200 upon conviction. In this case, despite the prior good character and lack of criminal antecedents, the magistrate recorded a conviction, seemingly unimpressed with the fact that so many other people had been charged with drug possession from the same music festival. The conviction was recorded to send a message of general deterrence so that others might not do the same thing. A fine was imposed of $500 with court costs payable. We immediately lodged a severity appeal.
The conviction was overturned on appeal pursuant to section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
People make mistakes. Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act is sometimes used by a Court to deal with a person of otherwise good character who has committed a criminal offence such as drug possession by giving them an opportunity to demonstrate that they will be of good behavior. Although this client was convicted in the Local Court, on appeal the charge was dismissed.