Doogue + George

Trafficking in a Drug of Dependence to a Child


‘Trafficking in a Drug of Dependence to a Child’ is an offence contrary to s 71AB of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (the Act).

Penalties Available

This charge has a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

If a person trafficks or attempts to traffick in a drug of dependence to a child at a school or in a public place within 500 metres of a school, the maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment.

The range of behaviour covered by a trafficking charge can be quite wide and so, inevitably, will be the sentencing range open to a magistrate or judge.

Elements of the Offence

To prove this offence the prosecution must show that the accused intentionally trafficked or attempted to traffick in a drug of dependence to a child (a person under 18 years of age).

The law surrounding this simple proposition can be very complex. As an example, a person can be found guilty of trafficking even though they did not know that the substance being trafficked to a child was a drug of dependence. It is also the sort of charge where a person who has brought an amount to share amongst their friends can be found guilty even when there was no intention to profit from the transaction.

Given the complexity of drug law you should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged.

The difference from supplying a drug to a child and trafficking to them is that trafficking is more serious as it involves a commercial element (i.e. the accused is profiting from their behaviour).

Possible Defences

Defences to this charge can be:

  • A belief that the child was over 18 at the time of the alleged offending
  • The accused was a child themselves at the time of the offending
  • Duress
  • Factual disputes
  • Honest and reasonable mistake
  • Wrongful identification
  • Lack of intent
  • Mental impairment

You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.