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Drug Charges - Permitting Use Of A Place - S11 Drugs Misuse Act

The following drug charge article was written by a practicing criminal lawyer with experience in drug charges. For information on other drugs charges, visit our Drug Charges home page.

What the law says

Section 11(1) of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 provides that

  1. A person who, being the occupier or concerned in the management or control of a place, permits the place to be used for the commission of a crime defined in this part is guilty of a crime.

What the police must prove

In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

  1. That the accused was the "occupier concerned in the management or control" of a place. As to occupation, an accused must be making use of a place with enough defacto control or management of the place to enable that use. A person is not an occupier if his/her only connection is the presence of some belongings. Mere ownership is also not sufficient and personal involvement must be proved.  
  2. That the accused "permitted." Standing by and watching somebody else doing something does not always establish permission. However, neither is specific activity always necessary to prove "permitting". It will be a question of fact and degree as to the degree of collusion.
  3. Used for the commission of a drug offence under the act. The prosecution will be required to prove the drugs offence under one of the other sections of the act. For example, to be guilty of permitting the use of a place to produce a dangerous drug, it must first be proven that the dangerous drug was produced in contravention of section 8 of the Drugs Misuse Act. Note that under subsection 11(2) of the Drugs Misuse Act the dangerous drug to which the commission of a crime relates is the dangerous drug directly or indirectly involved and in relation to which proof is required to establish the commission of the crime.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.

Maximum penalty

The maximum penalty is 15 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear the matter

Under section 13 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 certain (less serious with maximum penalties of less than 15 years) offences can be dealt with summarily in the Magistrates Court. 

This offence may therefore be dealt with in the Magistrates Court or in the Supreme Court at the election of the prosecution.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to:

  1. Not sufficient control or management to establish occupation
  2. Lack of sufficient involvement to constitute "permission"
  3. Lack of knowledge as to the commission of the offence under the DMA
  4. Duress
  5. The defendant was not an occupier of the place or had no management of the place.

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