Drug Offences Involving Children
When a drug crime is committed in the Australian Capital Territory that involves a child, additional penalties can be imposed. Penalties depend upon how the accused intended to involve the child and the quantity of the controlled drug involved.
Supplying a controlled drug to child for selling
The crime of supplying a controlled drug to child for selling, as defined by section 622 of the Criminal Code, requires the prosecution to prove that the accused:
- Supplied a controlled drug to a child; or
- Possessed a controlled drug with the intent to supply it to a child; and
Did so believing that the child intended to sell the drug.
Only an adult can be convicted of the offence. The penalty depends upon the amount of the drug that the accused supplied to the child.
Supplying commercial quantities to a child for sale carries a maximum sentence of life. Examples of commercial quantities include:
- Cocaine, 3 KG
- Methamphetamine, 3 KG
- Cannabis, 30 KG
- Heroin, 2.5 KG
- MDMA (Ecstasy), 5 KG
- LSD, 0.0015 KG
Supplying controlled drugs to a child for sale in less than commercial quantities carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. The drug is presumed to have been supplied for sale if the accused supplies trafficable quantities of the drug to the child. Examples of trafficable quantities include:
- Cocaine, 6 G
- Methamphetamine, 6 G
- Cannabis, 300 G
- Heroin, 5 G
- MDMA (Ecstasy), 10 G
- LSD, 0.003 G
When an accused is presumed to have supplied a drug to a child for sale, the accused can avoid conviction by persuading the judge or jury that he or she supplied the drug for some other purpose (such as the child’s personal use).
Supplying a controlled drug to child
The offence of supplying a controlled drug to a child does not require proof that the accused believed the child would sell the drug. The offence is therefore likely to be charged when the accused sold a controlled drug to the child for the child’s personal use.
Only an adult can be convicted of the offence. The penalties in section 625 for supplying a controlled drug to a child depend upon the drug.
Drugs other than cannabis
Supplying any quantity of any drug other than cannabis to a child carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Supplying 300 grams or more of cannabis to a child carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Supplying less than 300 grams of cannabis to a child carries a maximum sentence of 5 years.
When an accused considered whether the person receiving the controlled drug was a child but had no reasonable basis for believing the person was a child, the accused has a defence to the crimes described above.