The impact of a serious drug offence can be life-ruining. If you are charged with a drug offence such as importing or exporting a border-controlled drug, you may find yourself facing a long jail sentence as well as enormous fines. However, having a specialist lawyer on your side, who can advocate for you and argue your case to the highest standard, will make a huge difference to the outcome of your case.
Importing or Exporting a Border Controlled Drug or Plant – The Law in Australia
In the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) under Schedule 1, Regulation 307.3, it states: “A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person imports or exports a substance; and
(b) the substance is a border-controlled drug or border-controlled plant.”
This offence carries a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and/ or up to $420,000 (2000 penalty units).
Regulation 307.2 contains the aggravated version of this offence, for when a person is found to be importing or exporting a marketable quantity of that prohibited drug or plant. For this offence, the maximum sentence is 25 years’ imprisonment, and/or $105,0000. (5000 penalty units).
Finally, the most serious consequences are found in Regulation 307.1, which state that those found to be importing or exporting a ‘commercial’ quantity of that drug or plant, will face a life sentence, and/ or $1575,0000 (7,500 penalty units).
Schedule 4 of Criminal Code Regulation 2002 (Cth) contains a list of all border-controlled drugs, as well as listing the marketable and commercial quantities of the drugs in question. The seriousness of the charge that is made against you will depend on the quantity of the illicit drugs found. To be convicted for any of these charges, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt two things:
- You imported or exported a substance; and
- The substance in question was a border-controlled drug or plant, and was of the quantity alleged.
If these two things cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, you will not be found guilty.
Conviction for Illicit Drug Importation Leads to a 30 Year Sentence
Michael Ibrahim, the brother of notable former Kings Cross nightclub owner John Ibrahim, was recently sentenced to 30 years in jail for his part in an attempt to import illicit drugs into Australia. As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Ibrahim was convicted for his involvement in an attempt to import 1797 kilograms of MDMA, 136 kilograms of Cocaine and 15 kilograms of Ice into Australia, despite arguing that he only became involved in this illegal activity upon being encouraged to do so by an undercover police officer.
NSW District Court Judge, Dina Yehia SC, stated that Mr Ibriham played a “significant role” in the criminal act and that his criminality “was in high order”. Judge Yehia also took into account Mr Ibrahim’s previous convictions for assault, drug supply, and manslaughter, observing that, “This is not the first time the offender has come before the court.” In this case, it seems as though a harsh sentence was in many ways unavoidable, due to Mr Ibrahim’s past criminal record, the quantities of drugs involved, and the factual circumstances of the case.
A Sydney Criminal Law Specialists Success Story
Not all drug importation charges result in long custodial sentences, no matter how serious the changes. In 2019, our Principal Solicitor Javid Faiz defended Tamim Nozhat in the ACT Supreme Court. Mr Nozhat was facing very serious charges of importing 350 kilograms of MDMA into Australia.
The Largest Shipment of MDMA in ACT’s History
As reported by the ABC, Mr Nozhat was arrested when police found the illicit drugs hidden within buckets of pool cleaner that had been ordered from Germany. With the drugs estimated to have a street value of $140 million, police said that this was the largest shipment of MDMA that they had ever seized. In a case with large commercial quantities such as this, it may seem as though a harsh sentence is unavoidable. Ultimately, however a fair and just outcome was reached.
No Actual Knowledge of Drug Importation Scheme
The Court accepted Mr Nozhat’s claims that he did not actually know he was importing MDMA into Australia. Instead, Mr Nozhat honestly believed he was importing a special type of pool cleaner. During Mr Nozhat’s trial, there was evidence presented that Mr Nozhat possessed “below-average reasoning skills”, making him vulnerable.
The Court accepted that Mr Nozhat had been drawn into the scheme by a charismatic family member, without knowing what he was getting himself into. However, it was found that Mr Norzhat was reckless in his involvement, even though he did not have ‘actual knowledge’ of the illegal scheme. This meant that he remained criminally liable for the drug importation offence.
A Lenient Sentence
Mr Nozhat’s lack of actual knowledge of the crime taking place, his remorse, and his early guilty plea meant that, although convicted, he was given a relatively light sentence, receiving 3 years and 8 months in prison, with a non-parole period ending after a mere four months. Mr Norzhat’s family members were delighted with the outcome, saying they were “astonished” as to how quickly Mr Norzhat would be released.
This strong outcome was due to the tireless work of his legal team, and indicates that no matter the charges you might be facing, a favourable outcome is still possible with the right specialist lawyers, who will be able to analyse all aspects of the case to ensure you receive the best defence possible.
Due to this fair sentence, Mr Norzhat will be able to serve his time and then have a second chance at life, which a harsher sentence would have made far more difficult. An expert criminal defence lawyer will give you the best shot possible at getting your own second chance.
If you are currently facing drug importation charges or have been charged with another serious criminal offence, we are here to help. Our team at Sydney Criminal Law Specialists are experts in all areas of criminal law. Get in touch at 0434 856 436 or click here for a free consultation today.
The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.