Drugs Related

Discharge without conviction on drugs charges

A client had been charged with drugs offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and the Medicines Act 1981.  The client was also later charged with failing to answer District Court bail under the Bail Act 2000.  Tony Beach, through extensive written submissions and evidence by way of affidavits, sought a discharge without conviction on all charges on the grounds that the client – a young mother – was hoping to return to work shortly and convictions for drugs offences would reduce her chances of obtaining employment: that “the direct and indirect consequences of a conviction would be out of all proportion to the gravity of the offence”.

The Judge carefully considered the offending and the evidence before him of what those consequences might be of convictions for drugs offending.  The Judge held that there was a “medium severity of consequences” which would be out of proportion to the seriousness of the offending.  The Judge accepted the grounds had been made out and discharged the client without conviction on all charges.

Possession of drugs, utensils, firearms and ammunition charges dismissed

Tony Beach’s client was facing charges of possession of Class A drugs and possession of utensils (a pipe) under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, as well as charges of possession of firearms and ammunition under the Arms Act 1983.  Tony Beach argued that the possession charges should be dismissed on the grounds that the search of the client’s property by the Police was unlawful.  The Judge agreed: the Police can enter and search a place without a warrant under section 20 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 – but only in certain circumstances.  The Police could have obtained a warrant in these circumstances.  As well, the Police had failed to provide a written report of the circumstances of the warrantless search as they were required to do.  The Judge then considered whether the evidence of the drugs, pipe, firearms and ammunition should be admitted, despite the unlawful search (section 30 of the Evidence Act 2006).  The Judge found that, due to the small quantity of drugs involved and the ancient firearms, the evidence should be excluded – consequently, all charges arising from the unlawful search were dismissed.