Application for Summary Jurisdiction – Drug Offences

This is a case that involves an application for summary jurisdiction for drug-related offences.

After receiving information from the Department of Immigration and Border Control regarding suspicious consignment of goods, the police (state) applied for and obtained a search warrant on our client’s home.

What is alleged to have occured?
The police had found a relatively sophisticated laboratory in our client’s garage as well as a relatively modest amount of the drug DMT, approximately 8.5 grams in our client’s study. Although a small amount, the quantity still met the definition of a ‘traffickable quantity’ under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act.

During the official questioning by the investigators, our client made full admissions to all offences. In particular, he admitted to constructing the laboratory for the specific purpose of manufacturing DMT (a prohibited drug of dependence). He also maintained that initially his purpose for manufacturing DMT was for personal use.

The police also seized a mobile phone which contained a text message, the contents of which were indicative of a future intention to sell the drug the client had manufactured to interested parties. However, there was no evidence that actual, ongoing trafficking had occurred.

What happened at court?
We represented the client at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court. The charges were:

The prosecution, due to the sophistication of the lab and the quantity of precursor chemicals found at the client’s home, had the view that the appropriate jurisdiction (at least initially) was the County Court. The matter proceeded through a filing hearing, then a committal mention, before resolving as a plea in the Magistrates’ Court.

Application for summary jurisdiction was initially made to the prosecutor (Office of Public Prosecutions) expressing that the matter could be appropriately dealt with summarily. Further submissions were made as to the alleged offending period, and it was accepted that the trafficking charge was confined to a period of 4 weeks rather than 12 as was initially the case. Consequently, the date range for the most serious charge of trafficking was reduced to 1 month.

Following committal mention negotiations, the case was set down for a summary jurisdiction application and a possible plea. Submissions were made to the presiding magistrate addressing the criterial for summary jurisdiction under the Criminal Procedure Act, and consequently the application was granted.

Critical to the application for summary jurisdiction were our client’s fulsome admissions and his co-operative attitude towards the investigating officers; the relatively modest amounts of DMT manufactured and found at our client’s premises; his steps towards his own rehabilitation as evidenced by a report from a drug counsellor; the totality of the evidence that supported his motivation of making a drug that he had personally enjoyed previously and wanted to use, as opposed to setting out to manufacture a more pervasive drug with purely commercial intentions in mind; and the fact that the case was without complexity as there were no co-accused and, accordingly, that there was no suggestion our client was part of a larger organised crime syndicate.

Importantly, our client had indicated an intention to plead guilty at an early stage, and much of the case had been resolved before the first committal mention. It was also significant that our client had no prior court history.

What was the result?
Following a plea in mitigation, where all matters were put to the magistrate, our client received a Community Corrections Order. The conditions were that he undergo unpaid community work and continue to receive treatment and counselling as directed by Community Corrections.
DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 06/03/2018