Supply of Drug of Dependence to a Child

– section 71B of Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981
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This charge applies to two situations. The first being where a person who is accused of supplying a drug of dependence to a child to pass onto another person. The second is when an adult supplies a drug of dependence to a child for them to use.
Examples of Supply of Drug of Dependence to a Child
  • An 22 year old gives ecstasy to a 14 year old.
  • A father gives his 12-year-old child a package containing a drug to dependence to pass onto a friends parent.
Questions in cases like this
  • Was is a drug of dependence?
  • How was it supplied?
What are some of the possible defences to Supply of Drug of Dependence to a Child?

Defences to this can be the belief that the child was over the age of 18 years at the time that drug was supplied. This then becomes an argument about the surrounding circumstances and what age the person appeared to be and the reason for that assessment. There are also the normal factual disputes as to who actually committed an act. That is who actually supplied the drugs?

You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged with this offence.

Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer. If you are found guilty you may serve a term of imprisonment and so it would be prudent to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
 
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Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

Supply of drug of dependence to a child is a very serious offence that will normally mean that you will serve a prison term if you are found guilty. It carries a maximum penalty of 1,600 penalty units (fine) or level 3 imprisonment (20 years maximum), or both. This is generally heard in the County Court.

The reason why it is considered to be such a serious offence is because there are children involved.

What is the legal definition of Supply of Drug of Dependence to a Child?

A person gives a drug of dependence to a child to pass onto another person or a person gives a drug of dependence to a child for them to use.

“Have you been accused of supplying drugs to a child?”
Legislation

The legislation for this offence can be found on section 71B of Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.

Elements of the offence

In essence to prove this charge the Prosecution must show that the accused supplied a drug of dependence to a child under the age of 18 years without being authorised or licensed to do so.

Sentencing in the higher courts

Higher CourtFrom 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2016, there were 14 charges of Supply a Drug of Dependence to a Child – section 71B(1) that were heard in the higher courts of Victoria. Most of these charges resulted in imprisonment (87.5%) but Community Correction Order (6.2%) and adjourned undertaking/discharge/dismissal (6.2%) were also imposed.

The longest prison term imposed was somewhere between 3 and 4 years and was applied in 21.4% of the charges that resulted in imprisonment. Majority were sentenced to a term that was between 1 and 2 years.1

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[1] SACStat Higher Courts – Drugs, Poisons And Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) : s 71B(1) – supply a drug of dependence to a child < https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/higher_courts/HC_9719_71B_1.html >