Blog post by Tom Cuthbertson
Drug trafficking charges can be extremely stressful. The maximum penalties, depending on the specific offending, can even include a life sentence. Given what is at stake, it is crucial to recognise the serious potential of a lengthy term of imprisonment if convicted, and to be prepared at the outset with an effective defence, either in full or in mitigation of the drug trafficking charges.
Often the Prosecution will rely on a combination of the actual substance alleged to be a drug, telephone intercepts, observations and ‘indicia of trafficking’, which include unexplained cash, scales, press-seal bags, mobile phone content of the accused and tick lists. It is commonly thought that by using ‘code’, traffickers can escape the inference that they have been selling drugs – this is not true. The Courts are able to find that the reference to some seemingly innocuous item in a text message or phone call is, in fact, a reference to a specific drug or an amount of drugs. This can be readily inferred by patterns of conduct and intercepts.
Trafficking prosecutions are made all the more complex by the ‘strict liability’ nature of certain drug offences – this means that, rather than the prosecution bearing the burden of needing to prove beyond reasonable doubt that one was in possession of drugs, simply finding the drugs on an accused’s person or in a vehicle or other property in the control of that person can be sufficient to discharge the burden of proof.
Your Defence Team
Defending drug matters will, on the basis of the legislative burden and complexity of the evidence, often be a difficult task; however, where a lawyer is involved at the outset, an accused person can be satisfied that they will receive the strongest possible protection of their legal rights.
The team at Culshaw Miller Criminal Lawyers have experience in dealing with drug possession and trafficking matters. Tom Cuthbertson has assisted with the defence of significant drug trafficking and production matters involving the AFP, Victorian Police and South Australian Police. If you have been charged with a drug-related offence, contact Tom for 24 Hour advice on (08) 8312 4520.