‘Deemed’ Drug Supply is where a person who possesses drugs is charged with supply even though there is not enough evidence they actually supplied the drugs, or intended to do so.
The ‘deeming’ provision is contained in section 29 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, which says that a person can be charged with drug supply merely for possessing the ‘traffickable quantity’ of a prohibited drug which is:
– 0.75 grams of MDMA (‘ecstacy’)
– 3 grams of amphetamines, cocaine or heroin
– 300 grams of cannabis
The relevant quantity is the ‘admixture’ which means the total weight of the substance, not just the pure weight of the prohibited drug within it.
A person who possesses a traffickable quantity is not guilty of deemed supply if they are able to establish on the ‘balance of probabilities’ that the drugs were for something other than supply, such as for personal use only.
If you would like an experienced drug defence lawyer to provide accurate advice and outstanding representation for your Deemed Supply case, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers® today on (02) 9261 8881.
Our criminal lawyers are experts in defending drug charges and have a proven track record in obtaining superior results in all types of drug cases.
29 Traffickable quantity–possession taken to be for supply
A person who has in his or her possession an amount of a prohibited drug which is not less than the traffickable quantity of the prohibited drug shall, for the purposes of this Division, be deemed to have the prohibited drug in his or her possession for supply, unless:
(a) the person proves that he or she had the prohibited drug in his or her possession otherwise than for supply, or
(b) except where the prohibited drug is prepared opium, cannabis leaf, cannabis oil, cannabis resin, heroin or 6-monoacetylmorphine or any other acetylated derivatives of morphine, the person proves that he or she obtained possession of the prohibited drug on and in accordance with the prescription of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, midwife practitioner, dentist or veterinary practitioner.
Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?
Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:
Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.
Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.
Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.
We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.
Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.
Highest Level of Client Satisfaction
We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.
Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.
We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.
We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.
Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm
We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.
The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.
We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.
We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.
Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.
Free First Appointment
For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.
We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.
Specialist Lawyer Guarantee
We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.
This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.
All NSW Courts
From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.
And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.
Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.
All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.
An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.
Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.
Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.
Results-Focused Law Firm
Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.
The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.
Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.
No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.
The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.
Team of Lawyers Behind You
Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.
Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.
A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.
In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.
Familiar with Magistrates and Judges
Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.
Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.
We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:
- the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
- Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
- Parramatta, near the justice precinct.
We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.
For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.
If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at email@example.com.
Large Commercial Drug Supply Charges Dropped
Our client is a 26-year old carpenter from Sydney’s west.
Police say they were given a ‘tip off’ from an informant and searched our client’s premises, locating a total of more than 1.1 kg of cocaine and 1000 MDMA (ecstacy) tablets in various locations.
Our client lived alone on the premises and police charged him with two counts of supplying a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs.
The supply was ‘deemed’ under section 29 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985.
Our client did not participate in a police interview.
He instructed us that the night before the search, he had a house party during which drugs were being sold by a major drug supplier.
He informed us he had no idea about the drugs being stashed on his premises.
A significant amount of work was undertaken by our legal team to raise sufficient doubt that the drugs found did not belong to our client, nor was he aware they were left there by the owner.
We arranged for independent examination of the parcels which excluded any possibility of our client’s fingerprints or DNA being on them.
The examination concluded there was a fingerprint that belonged to another person.
No drugs were located in our client’s bedroom, and we were able to obtain evidence that two others stayed at the premises the previous night.
We drafted extensive ‘representations’ (written submissions requesting withdrawal of the case) which detailed the law relating to the requirement that the prosecution must prove ‘exclusive possession’ beyond reasonable doubt, together with defence statements and partial disclosure of the forensic evidence derived from the parcels.
After extensive negotiations, the prosecution realised it would not be able to prove possession beyond reasonable doubt (an essential ingredient of deemed supply) and withdrew all charges – which has saved our client many tens of thousands of dollars and a great deal of stress, anxiety and uncertainty facing a jury trial.
It is very rare that the prosecution withdraws charges as serious as large commercial drug supply, especially when drugs are found pursuant to a tip-off at a location where the suspect is the sole resident.
But it is certainly possible with an expert defence team behind you with the right knowledge, experience, contacts and resources.
No Criminal Record for 18 ‘Ecstacy’ Tablets
Our client is a 27 year old man who is on a student visa.
Police were conducting a drug dog operation within the Kings Cross Entertainment precinct.
They were walking along the footpath when they observed our client see them and immediately cross the road.
Police followed our client and say they observed him cross back, in what they viewed to be an active attempt to avoid the sniffer dog.
They approached our client and activated their Body Worn Video camera. They asked if our client would consent to a search, and he did.
During the search, police located 2 resealable plastic bags containing a total of 18 capsules of MDMA (‘ecstacy’).
They arrested our client and conveyed him to the police station, where our client participated in an interview and admitted owning the tablets.
The law in NSW is that where the weight of a substance containing MDMA is above 0.75 grams, police are able to charge the person with ‘drug supply’ as it is deemed the drugs were in the person’s possession for the purpose of supply.
In that case, police do not need to prove that the person intended to supply the drug; rather the onus of proof shifts to the defendant to prove on the balance of probabilities that he or she possessed the drugs for something other than supply, most commonly for personal use only.
The weight of the drugs in our client’s possession was 4.27 grams, well in excess of the ‘deemed’ quantity.
He was subsequently charged with supplying a prohibited drug.
As the weight was more than 1.25 grams, the supply charge became ‘strictly indictable’ which means it must be finalised in the District Court rather than the Local Court.
This also meant the matter was taken over by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
We wrote detailed ‘representations’ to the DPP regarding the fact the drugs were in our client’s possession for personal use only, requesting the downgrading of the supply charge to drug possession – which is far less serious and would allow the case to remain in the Local Court.
After intense negotiations, the DPP ultimately agreed to our request.
Our client then pleaded guilty to drug possession-only in the Local Court.
In preparation for our client’s sentencing proceedings, we assisted him to prepare a Letter of Apology, Character References and also guided him to attend the SMART Recovery Program.
As he is an Italian national, we obtained his Italian criminal record (which was clean) and had it translated.
We made detailed submissions in regarding his remorse, steps to taking control of his substance use and the impact of a conviction on his desire to work in the future as a professional.
We also compiled relevant case-law which makes it clear a magistrate can impose a ‘non-conviction’ despite the number of pills.
The Crown opposed our request and made submissions for a criminal conviction and significant penalty.
We ultimately persuaded the Magistrate not to impose a criminal record on our client, and released him on a two-year good behaviour bond without conviction.
Our client was ecstatic and looks forward to pursuing his career.
No Criminal Record for 14 Ecstacy Tablets
Our client is a foreign national on a working holiday visa.
A few months into her stay in Australia, she decided to attend a music festival with a group of friends.
On the day of the festival, she was pressured to carry 14 MDMA (‘ecstacy’) tablets into the festival grounds.
The male members of the group, including her boyfriend at the time, felt that as a female she would come under the least suspicion from security and police, who were checking for illegal drugs at the festival entry.
A sniffer dog gave a positive indication and our client quickly admitted to possessing the tablets.
She was then arrested and charged with ‘drug supply’ due to the number of tablets found. In that regard, the law provides that a person found with more than the ‘trafficable quantity’ of drugs can be charged with supply. This is known as ‘deemed supply’. The trafficable quantity of MDMA is just 0.75 grams.
If a person is charged with deemed supply, the onus of proof then shifts to them to prove ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that they were in possession of the drugs for the purpose of something other than supply.
The law also provides that a person who holds drugs momentarily for the owner with a view to returning it is not guilty of supply.
An issue for our client was that there were a number of people to whom the drugs were to be distributed upon entry to the festival, and she made admissions to police that she intended to supply the tablets to these people.
Despite the issues, our defence team wrote a detailed letter – known as ‘representations’ formally requesting withdrawal of the supply charge provided that our client pleaded guilty to drug possession.
She pleaded guilty to that lesser charge and we assisted her in gathering a range of subjective materials, including documents in relation to the impact of a criminal conviction.
After extensive verbal submissions in the local court, and despite submissions against a ‘non conviction’ by the prosecution, Her Honour was persuaded to impose a two-year good behaviour bond without a criminal conviction.
This is an excellent result given the number of tablets involved.
No Criminal Record for ‘Deemed Supply’ of 15 Ecstacy Tablets
Our client is a 24 year old student who was found to be in possession of 15 ecstasy tablets.
During the police interview, he admitted intending to supply the tablets to his friends once they were all together inside the hotel they were intending to meet.
Police charged our client with ‘deemed supply,’ alleging that he was in possession for the purpose of supply, as the current definition of supply extends to an intention to supply. The offence carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $220,000.
Despite our client’s admissions, we successfully persuaded police to withdraw the supply charge on condition he pleads guilty to the lesser charge of drug possession; which carries a maximum penalty of two years.
Our client entered a plea of guilty to that charge and we assisted him to prepare a range of subjective materials, including a letter of apology, character references and a letter from a psychologist.
Due to the number of tablets, the Local Court magistrate imposed an 18 month good behaviour bond on our client under ‘section 9’ of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act – which comes with a criminal record.
We appealed the severity of the penalty to the District Court, where we ultimately persuaded the judge to deal with our client ‘without conviction’. He is now free to pursue his future career in accounting without the obstacle of a criminal record.
No Conviction for ‘Deemed Supply’ of 12 Ecstacy Tablets
Our client is a 27-year-old apprentice plumber from Sydney.
Police observed him walking along a footpath with another person outside a popular annual music festival. As our client was adjusting his pants, a single brown pill fell out of his pocket onto the ground. Police saw this, approached and showed him identification. Our client then handed the pill to police, admitting it was ‘ecstacy’.
Police asked whether he had any other pills, and our client produced a bag containing another five ecstasy pills. Police then searched him and found another bag containing 6 more ecstasy pills. He made admissions to police that he was going to give some of the pills to his girlfriend and friends, which amounts to 'drug supply' under the law.
In total, our client was found with 12 ecstasy pills. As this is well above the ‘trafficable quantity’ of 0.75 grams – and the fact our client admitted intending to supply pills to others - our client was charged with ‘deemed supply’, which means he was taken to have the drugs upon him for the purpose of supply.
Our client pleaded guilty in the Local Court and, because the quantity was also above the ‘strictly indictable’ weight of 1.25 grams, the case proceeded to the District Court.
Our client told us he saw several criminal lawyers who each advised him that it was not possible to avoid a criminal conviction for a ‘deemed supply’ for so many ecstacy pills. In our view, that advice was contrary to several authorities in the NSWCCA and District Court which make it clear that higher courts can, and indeed have, exercised discretion under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 not to record a criminal conviction for the supply of several ecstacy tablets (see especially R v Mauger).
We assisted our client to prepare a range of favourable materials, including character references, a letter of apology and evidence that he may lose his job upon receiving a criminal record.
In the District Court, the prosecutor presented several cases which state that a prison sentence is appropriate in circumstances similar to that of our client.
In addition to the subjective materials, we presented cases to the contrary and argued at length that it was appropriate for the court to deal with our client by way of a section 10 good behaviour bond.
In the result, the Judge was persuaded to exercise her discretion and place our client on an 18-month bond without recording a criminal conviction against him.
He looks forward to continuing his career and establishing his own business in the future.
Drug Supply Charges Withdrawn
Our client is a 58-year-old lady who owns a tobacconist store in the CBD.
Police had previously seized synthetic drugs from her store, and had received further reports that synthetic cannabis was still being sold.
They obtained a warrant to search the premises and were able to locate various forms of synthetic cannabis, with an estimated value of $10,000.
Our client was then charged with ‘deemed supply’, which means that she was alleged to have more than the ‘traffickable’ quantity of drugs in her possession for the purpose of supply. A ‘deemed supply’ charge can be brought even if there is no evidence that the person actually supplied any drugs.
The laws relating to the sale of synthetic cannabis were changing at the time, and the act of supplying synthetic cannabis had only become an offence 10 days before our client was charged.
Our lawyers were able to persuade the prosecution to drop the charges on that basis, meaning that our client is spared the expense, stress and anxiety of having to fight the case in court.
Client Avoids Conviction Despite Supplying 16 Ecstacy Tablets
In Downing Centre District Court, our 24 year old client from Rydalmere was given a 'section 10 bond' despite pleading guilty to supplying 16 ecstacy tablets and possessing amphetamines.
This means that she avoids a criminal conviction altogether.
She is a Project Analyst with a Sydney-based telecommunications company that contracts to various government organisations.
She attended the Stereosonic Music Festival, Olympic Park where police allegedly saw her selling tablets to other party-goers.
Police approached and saw her holding a condom containing what appeared to be tablets and capsules.
They immediately cautioned her, seized the pills and placed her under arrest.
She then made a range of admissions and was charged with one count of 'drug supply' and two counts of 'drug possession'.
The ecstacy (or 'MDMA') tablets weighed a total of 5.44 grams. A capsule of amphetamines was also found.
The quantity of drugs made it a 'strictly indictable case' which means that it had to go to the District Court.
It was a strong case of 'actual supply'.
However, Sydney Criminal Lawyers® persuaded the prosecution to significantly amend the 'facts' and to treat the matter as a 'deemed supply' only, which meant that it was less-serious.
Our client then pleaded guilty to one charge of 'deemed supply'.
She placed herself in the best possible position before her sentencing date by attending counselling and gathering character references.
A counselling letter was obtained and our defence team successfully persuaded the District Court Judge to keep her conviction-free.
This means that the incident is unlikely to affect our client's current job or her future career prospects.
No Conviction for Man Charged with Supplying Ecstacy Tablets
The Magistrate in Downing Centre Local Court was persuaded to discharge our 24 year old client without recording a criminal conviction against him despite being found in possession of 8 tablets of MDMA ('ecstacy').
Police approached our client in a Sydney Night Club after receiving information that he was selling 'ecstacy' tablets to patrons.
They asked whether he was in possession of drugs and he immediately produced a small resealable plastic bag containing 8 pills.
He was arrested and charged with 'drug supply' and 'drug possession'.
The 'drug supply' charge was based on the law about 'deemed supply' - which says that a person can be charged with drug supply simply because they possess more than the 'trafficable quantity' of drugs eg more than 0.75 grams of ecstacy.
Our defence team wrote a detailed letter to Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions ('DPP') which resulted in the 'supply' charge being withdrawn.
Our client then pleaded guilty to 'possession' and our Mr Nedim convinced the Magistrate to allow him to remain 'conviction-free' on the basis that a criminal conviction could have impacted upon his ability to become an accountant after completing his university studies.
No Conviction for 12 'Ecstacy' Tablets and Ketamine
After having a charge of 'deemed supply' withdrawn, Sydney Criminal Lawyers® obtained 'Section 10s' (no convictions) for our 51 year old client who then pleaded guilty in Downing Centre Local Court to possessing 12 'Ecstacy' Tablets and a quantity of Ketamine.
Our client had no previous criminal convictions.