Cultivation and possession of cannabis, including of a commercial quantity

Case
Cultivation and possession of cannabis, including of a commercial quantity

Quick Facts
Our client was charged with Cultivation of Cannabis in a commercial quantity, Cultivation of Cannabis, and Possession of Cannabis

Maximum Sentencing

  • Cultivate a Commercial Quantity of Cannabis – Level 2 imprisonment (25 years maximum) – s72A Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981
  • Cultivate Cannabis (Non-Commercial Quantity) – Up to Level 4 imprisonment (15 years maximum) – s72B Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981
  • Possess Cannabis – Up to Level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum)


What our client received

4 month Imprisonment – Time served on remand and immediate release

Background

Our client was a Vietnamese National living in Australia. One night he was the passenger in a car being driven by his friend (the Co-Accused in this matter), when that car was intercepted by police. On becoming aware that police were following them the Co-Accused told our client that there was Cannabis in the glove compartment. Our client had not previously been aware of this.

Police alleged that both our client and the Co-Accused had been inside a house where the car had been parked, inside of which police found 312 Cannabis plants and various equipment used to grow Cannabis. A Commercial Quantity of Cannabis is 100 plants (or 25kg).

The police evidence was weak as to whether our client had been inside the house where the Cannabis was found, or whether he knew anything about the Cannabis in the car before his friend told him about it. Our client offered to plead guilty to Cultivating Cannabis (not a commercial quantity) on the basis that, even if the police could prove he was in the house, they could not prove that he knew how much Cannabis was there.

The police refused this offer and the case went to trial before a Judge and jury.

The Result
As the trial was coming to an end, the prosecution agreed that there was a real risk that they would not be able to prove that our client knew how much Cannabis was inside the house, and accepted our client’s offer made many months earlier.

A plea of guilty was entered on the same day and our client was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment. As he had already spent more than 4 months in custody he was able to be released immediately and returned home to Vietnam.

The Co-Accused in this matter received a sentence of 3 years with a minimum non-parole period of 2 years.

This was a good result for our client because it meant that the most serious charge of Cultivating a Commercial Quantity of Cannabis was withdrawn, our client did not have to serve any more time in custody, and he was allowed to go home to his family in Vietnam.

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