Diversion Application for Trafficking in Drugs of Dependence

This is a case study on a diversion application for Trafficking in Drugs of Dependence.

The police seized our client’s phone during his arrest and charge because they suspected he was dealing drugs. It was our client’s work phone. As soon as our client told his employers that his phone had been seized by the police as part of an investigation, he lost his job.

What is alleged to have occured?
On a night out at a club in the inner south-east, our client befriended two people who, unbeknownst to him, were undercover police officers. During the course of the night, the undercover police officers asked him if he could score them any drugs. Our client did not use or sell drugs so he said no. But at some stage later in the night, he was approached by someone trafficking drugs (cocaine and ketamine) and, although he refused on his own behalf, he thought of his new friends outside.

Unfortunately, he then agreed to set up his new friends with drugs from the man that had approached him in the club. He did not benefit from the sale of the drugs in any way. A few days later he was contacted by one of the undercover police officers who identified himself as a member of the Victoria Police. He was ultimately arrested for two charges of trafficking drugs, specifically cocaine and ketamine.

It is the policy of Victoria Police to file separate charges for each drug which can very quickly increase the seriousness of the matter even where the quantity of drugs is small. Our client participated in a record of interview in which he provided some explanation for what had happened that night at the club. It was his first time dealing with the police. He did not have a criminal history and had never been arrested before.

What happened at court?
Sophie Parsons represented the client at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on the charge of Trafficking in a Drug of Dependence.

On reviewing our client’s charges and the police brief, and upon hearing his side of the story, it seemed unfair that someone could end up with a criminal history for a very serious offending given that the client had effectively been ‘entrapped’ by the police. Entrapment is not a defence in Victoria. But if it can be proved that the offending would not have occurred except for police involvement, then it can be a matter that can significantly reduce a penalty upon a plea of guilty.

Sophie advised the client to make a diversion application for Trafficking in Drugs of Dependence. The client was surprised by the advice because he had done some research and didn’t think that he would be eligible for such a program. He said that he didn’t dare hope that he could avoid a criminal history.

Our client wanted to plead guilty as he accepted he had done the wrong thing and that his conduct amounted to trafficking drugs under the law. He had suffered a great deal personally since his arrest including the loss of his permanent job. There is also a decline in his mental health because of his concern about his involvement in the criminal justice sentence and the risk of a criminal record that will stay with him in the future.

Despite the seriousness of the charges Sophie thought that the circumstances of his offending were well worth trying very hard to secure an outcome that would avoid a criminal record. Although very few charges of this kind of seriousness are considered for diversion by the police – and they have a policy of refusing diversion for drug trafficking charges – in this case, Sophie was successfully able to assist the client in having his matter dealt with via diversion.

Sophie assisted the client in drafting and requesting material to support his request for diversion, including a letter of apology and character references. She also negotiated with the Victoria Police in the lead up to the court date and assisted the client in completing the relevant paperwork.

What was the result?
Ultimately, Sophie was able to convince a judicial registrar to grant the request. The diversion application for Trafficking in Drugs of Dependence turned out to be successful despite the judicial registrar expressing concerns about granting diversion because of the seriousness of the charges. Our client avoided a criminal history. Following the Court outcome, the client wrote expressing his relief that the nightmare was over and that he could think again about his future and finding another job.

Elements of Trafficking in a Drug of Dependence:
  • The accused intentionally trafficked or attempted to traffick in a drug of dependence
  • The accused was not authorised or licensed to do so
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Sophie ParsonsSophie Parsons

Sophie is based in the firm’s Melbourne office and is one of the firm’s in-house counsel and trial specialists. As a trial lawyer, Sophie’s expertise lies in examining witnesses, making legal submissions before judges and magistrates, and addressing juries.

Sophie is an advocate who regularly appears at the Magistrates’ and County Courts of Victoria. She handles appeals, contested committal hearings, bail applications, as well as pleas of guilty.

View Sophie Parsons’ profile.
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 29/08/2018