Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug “Ice”

In November 2018 the NSW Government commissioned a Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug “Ice”. Commissioner Professor Dan Howard SC recently handed down the Final Report, bringing to light the extent and harm associated with methamphetamine and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS).

During public sessions, including those held in the Maitland Region, the Inquiry heard of the impact ATS had on individuals, families and communities throughout NSW and the resultant increase in intergenerational drug use. This is seen in the prevalence of the use of crystal methamphetamine (Ice) in the Hunter Region with 71.3% of participants in the Hunter New England Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) Program reporting Ice as the primary drug of concern, compared to the state average of 53.8%. Further, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has reported an increase in the recorded incidents of “use/possess” amphetamines in the Maitland Local Government Area.


Possession of Ice

Section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act (DMTA) outlines that any person who has a prohibited drug in his or her possession is guilty of an offence.

To prove this charge, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that an individual:

  1. Had a prohibited drug in their possession; and
  2. They knew the prohibited drug was in their possession or believed the substance in their possession was likely to be a prohibited drug.

There are two different kinds of possession recognised by the law: physical possession and de facto possession. Physical possession is when the drug is physically in your custody. De facto possession is when the drug is not physically in your custody, but you have control of the drug.

Even possession of “a point” (about a tenth of a gram) of Ice is enough to be charged under this section.  If a person is convicted of possessing Ice, they face a maximum penalty of 20 penalty unit fine ($2,200), 2 years imprisonment or both.


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Key Takeaways

Deemed supply provision

If you have 3.0g or more of Ice, under section 29 of the DMTA, you will be deemed to have the prohibited drug in their possession for supply. Unless it can be proven that possession was for a purpose other than for supply, a person can be charged with “Supply of Prohibited Drugs” which is a far more serious offence and carries much higher penalties. For example, if an individual has in their possession between 3.0g and 5.0g of Ice (and the offence is prosecuted on Indictment) they can be facing a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment, 2000 penalty unit fine ($220,000) or both.

Have you or someone you know been charged with drug possession or supply of prohibited drugs?  If you’ve been charged with a drug offence contact the team at Hamilton Janke Lawyers 24/7 on 4038 1666 or contact us here.

Written By
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James Janke

James Janke is founding partner at Hamilton Janke Lawyers, and has more then decade of experience as a Criminal Defence Lawyer. Admitted to both the Supreme Court of New South Wales and High Court of Australia