The Law on Contaminating Food in NSW

 

It’s reported that mourners at a funeral in Germany were accidentally served with hash cake resulting in a drug high.

Following the burial, the mourners attended a restaurant to have cake and coffee- a customary German practice.

13 of the mourners who attended the restaurant were reported feeling high and required medical attention.

Following a police investigation, it came to light that one of the workers at the restaurant had accidentally taken the wrong cake to the funeral.

The cake that the restaurant employee took from the freezer was a hash cake that her 18-year-old daughter had baked for a different event.

The 18-year-old daughter was asked by her mother (the restaurant employee) to bake a cake for the funeral.

The 18-year-old daughter is now under police investigation.

Below is a brief outline on the penalties for food tampering or contamination in NSW.

Have a question? Call our team of criminal lawyers based in Sydney and Parramatta to arrange a free consultation.

In NSW, it is a criminal offence to contaminate food with the intent to cause a public alarm/anxiety or economic loss under section 93K Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

If proven guilty, this offence has a maximum penalty of 10-years imprisonment.

A person charged with contaminating food under section 93K will be proven guilty if the prosecution proves each of the following elements beyond reasonable doubt in court:

  1. The accused interfered with food. This includes inserting something inside it; and
  2. The accused at the time of doing this, intended to cause public alarm or an economic loss.

It is also a crime carrying the same maximum penalty for threatening to do this with the same intention(s) under section 93L.

Anyone who contaminates food with the requisite intention(s) outlined earlier causing either grievous bodily harm (GBH) or death will face a maximum sentence of up to 25-years imprisonment.

The same maximum penalty applies if death or GBH doesn’t result, but where the person contaminates the food with the intentions that it will cause death or GBH. (section 93O Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)).

‘Contaminate’ here is where the food is interfered with or where it is made to appear as though it has been contaminated or interfered with.

It’s also a criminal offence to supply or cultivating marijuana or cannabis with heavy penalties in NSW.

The maximum penalties for cultivating cannabis plant generally varies on whether it is cultivated outside or by enhanced indoor means, and the quantity involved.

We have previously outlined the law and penalties for cultivating cannabis plants in our previous article.

The maximum penalties range from 2 years imprisonment to 24-years imprisonment.

In respect to cannabis plants, up to 5 is small quantity, 50 is both indictable quantity commercial quantity and 200 is large commercial quantity where the cannabis plant is cultivated by enhanced indoor means.

In respect to cannabis plants cultivated outside (not by enhanced indoor means) 5 is small quantity, 50 is indictable quantity, 250 is commercial quantity and 1000 is large commercial quantity.

Because it takes less cannabis plants to fit into the commercial quantity for cultivating cannabis plants by enhanced indoor means, this reflects the extent of seriousness to be given when sentencing an offender for this as opposed to cultivating outside.

Cultivating here includes watering the plants, nurturing, harvesting, growing or planting. It is also considered cultivating under the law if a person takes steps or causes steps to be taken in the process of this.

About Jimmy Singh

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

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