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Section 32 Application Successful: Client Avoids Criminal Record for 6 Drug Possession Charges

RELATED TO: Drug Possession, Drug Offences, Mental Health Law
CRIMINAL CASE

Our client is a 42 year old living in the inner eastern suburbs of Sydney.

Police were patrolling the central metropolitan area by vehicle, when they say they observed him look at them and abruptly turn his car and drive away.

They pulled over his car and asked if he would consent to a search. Our client provided that consent.

During the search, police discovered 6 different prohibited drugs in his glovebox.

Our client immediately made admissions to owning the drugs, and said they were for his personal use.

He was charged as a result with 6 counts of possessing a prohibited drug, an offence which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

He attended a conference at our office during which he informed us that he has a history of mental health issues, and that the drugs were a form of ‘self-medication’ as traditional drugs he was prescribed had severe side-effects on him.

He also advised that he holds a security licence and expressed concerns that a plea of guilty would result in its cancellation.

We advised our client to attend the MERIT drug program and we briefed a psychologist who provided us with a report corroborating his history of mental health issues and instructions regarding self-medication.

Based on that information, we made a ‘section 32 mental health application’ before the court seeking an order that the charges against our client be dismissed without a conviction or a finding of guilt provided he complies with a treatment plan for a period of six months. The plan required him to seek his treating psychologist each week, undertake cognitive behavioural therapy in order to address underlying issues and comply with the psychologist’s directions.

While the magistrate was initially reluctant to grant the order due to the number of offences, she was ultimately persuaded due to the verbal submissions supporting the application.

This means that not only does our client avoid a criminal conviction, he also avoids a finding of guilt.

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