Law on Drug Smuggling Charges in NSW


While Australia no longer have the death sentence as a penalty, China still has it under its criminal justice system.

Australia completely abolished the death sentence by 1985, in fact the federal government legislated against capital punishment.

The last ever recorded execution by way of a death penalty in Australia was in 1967, Victoria when Ronald Ryan was hanged.

It is reported that the human rights organisation Amnesty International view that china is a world leading executioner, having sentenced and executed thousands of people a year to capital punishment.

The true extent of their capital punishment per year is difficult to know, largely due to the fact that it’s considered classified information.

The types of offences that China prescribe the death penalty to include drug trafficking, human trafficking, murder and rape, robbery and treason.

More recently, China sentenced an Australian citizen to death for serious drug offences.

It is reported that Karm Gilespie, believed to be in his 50s, was sentenced to death on 10 June. He was arrested for 7.5kg of the drug ice located in his luggage in 2013 as he was trying to leave China at the Guangzhou Baiyun airport.

Peter Gardner from NSW has also been arrested in 2014 from the same airport for same charges involving 30kg of the drug. He is yet to be sentenced and is incarcerated at Guangzhou prison.

Against the death sentence is trade minister Simon Birmingham, who has said, “we expect at a level of principle that not only the death penalty should not be applied but also wherever people are in trouble the rule of law ought be applied fairly.”

In Australia, MDMA or ‘ice’ is considered a ‘border-controlled drug’ according to schedule 4 Criminal Code Regulation 2002 (Cth).

Importing a border controlled drug, exporting it or simply possessing it attract heavy punishments.

Possessing an imported border controlled drug occurs if you knowingly possess it in circumstances it was unlawfully imported into Australia. Possessing it is if you knowingly had exclusive physical custody or control of it to the exclusion of others not acting in concert with you.

Importing a border controlled drug occurs if you arrange and organise for it to be brought into Australia from another country.

Exporting it is organising for and sending it to another country for sale.

As for importing or exporting a border-controlled drug, the penalties range depending on the quantity of the drug it’s classified in. These are classified broadly into either commercial quantity, marketable quantity or any other quantity.

Click here for an outline on the complete list of maximum penalties for importing or exporting a border-controlled drug.

The maximum penalties range from 10-years imprisonment for ‘any other quantity’, to life imprisonment for ‘commercial quantity’.

The commercial quantity for MDMA in Australia is 750g or more. The marketable quantity for it is less than 750g, but 250g or more.

A common defence to importing or exporting a border-controlled drug is the absence of knowledge or awareness of possessing it. Duress or necessity is also a defence to the charge that will result in a ‘not guilty’ verdict if successful.

Have a question around drug laws in Australia? Our drug lawyers in Sydney specialise in drug trafficking offences. Call our friendly team to arrange a free first consultation today.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.

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