DPP v Tran [2016] VCC 1612

Sentence summary: Trafficking (commercial quantity)

The offender met with a drug dealer with the intention of stealing money from the dealer. The offender and a co-offender later burgled the hotel room of the drug dealer. They took boxes they believed contained cash, but found they contained taped up balls with a crystalline substance inside. The offender believed these were drugs of some type. While he was unsure of the type, quantity or purity of the drugs, he decided to sell them anyway. Subsequently, police searched the offender’s motel room and found 1.1 kilograms of pure methylamphetamine.

The offender pleaded guilty to trafficking in a commercial quantity of a drug of dependence, methlyamphetamine.

The judge found that several aspects of the offence put it at a lower level of seriousness, but not the lowest. The offender did not intend ongoing drug trafficking, he was not part of a syndicate and there was no evidence he had sold any of the drugs or taken any practical steps to do so. Police had seized the drugs soon after the offender had taken them.

However, she noted his prior convictions and that he had previously breached a Community Corrections Order by reoffending.

The judge found that the offender had promising prospects of rehabilitation. He was still a youthful offender, 25 years old at the time of sentence. He had managed to detox while on remand and had remained drug free during a recent period on bail. He had commenced his own tiling business and had engaged in some charitable work. He had a new relationship and was expecting the birth of his first child. His family continued to support him.

The judge also took into account his guilty plea and difficult childhood and responsibilities he had for his mother and 10 siblings. She accepted that his time in prison would also be more onerous on him because of the burden of the impending birth of his child and not being able to care for his immediate family.

But she considered that even at a low level, trafficking drugs in this quantity was a serious offence. The sentence must send the message that offending of this nature will attract stern punishment.

The offender was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment followed by a one-year Community Corrections Order.

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Page last updated: 26 August 2018