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Possessing a Commercial Quantity of Border Controlled Drugs or Plants Reasonably Suspected of Being Unlawfully Imported

Possessing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs or plants reasonably suspected of being unlawfully imported is an offence under section 307.8 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You possessed a substance
  2. The substance was reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully imported
  3. You knew the substance was a border controlled drug or plant or were reckless in that regard, and
  4. The quantity of the substance was least the commercial quantity.

‘Imported’ means brought into Australia or dealt with in connection therewith.

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware it was likely that the substance was a border controlled drug or plant, but went ahead with your actions regardless.

Commercial quantities of frequently prosecuted border controlled drugs and plants include:

  • At least 500 grams of MDMA (or ‘ecstacy’)
  • At least 750 grams of amphetamines
  • At least 1.5 kgs of heroin
  • At least 2 kgs of cocaine, or
  • At least 100 kgs of cannabis leaf.

You are not guilty of the offence if you establish to the court ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that the substance was not unlawfully imported.

A defence to the charge is ‘duress’, which is where:

  1. Your actions were due to a threat of death or serious injury to you and/or someone close to you
  2. There was no reasonable way for you to render the threat ineffective, and
  3. Your conduct was a reasonable response to the threat.

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