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.