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Drug Charges - Publishing Or Possessing Instructions For Dangerous Drugs-S8 DMA

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 8A of the Drug Misuse Act 1986 states:

A person who unlawfully publishes instructions, or unlawfully has possession of a document containing instructions, about the way to produce a dangerous drug commits 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 "published". The term publish includes to publish to any person and supply, exhibit and display to any person, whether the publication is made orally or in written, electronic or another form; or

2. That the accused has possession. Possession means physical control or custody. You do not possess a thing unless you have it or else can actually exercise dominion over it.

3.A "document" this includes anything designed to enable electronic access specifically to the instructions. For example, s document containing a computer password specifically designed to give access through a computer to the instructions.

2. That the contents of the document relates to the production of dangerous drugs as defined under the Act and Regulations.

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

Maximum penalty

Maximum penalties of imprisonment will depend on the type of drug the instructions are in relation to:

The Drugs Misuse Regulations 1987 divides dangerous drugs into more serious Schedule 1 drugs (eg. Amphetamine, Cocaine, Heroin) and less serious schedule 2 drugs (eg Cannabis, Barbital). 

For instructions in relation to a schedule 1 drug the maximum penalty is 25 Years imprisonment.

 For instructions in relation to a schedule 2 drug the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear the matter

The offence will be indictable and will be heard in the Supreme Court or may be dealt with in the magistrates court if the prosecutor so elects.

Possible defences

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

  1. Lack of control or dominion over the document;
  2. Identification of the Defendant
  3. That the Defendant did not have knowledge that the document contained drug production instructions
  4. That the document was so general or vague that it did not amount to instructions;
  5. That the instructions were lawful or published lawfully;
  6. That the instructions do not relate to a dangerous drug.

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