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Manufacture a prohibited drug

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In NSW it is an offence to make or take part in the making of illegal drugs.

A person can be charged with this offence if they cook, prepare, produce or manufacture illegal drugs, or if they participate in any part of cooking, preparing, producing or manufacturing illegal drugs.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years imprisonment or 2000 penalty units for all drugs except cannabis. If the drug is cannabis, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment or 2000 penalty units.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a manufacture prohibited drugs charge.


The offence of Manufacture Prohibited Drug:

The offence of Manufacture Prohibited Drug is contained in section 24(1) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 and states:

A person who manufactures or produces, or who knowingly takes part in the manufacture or production of, a prohibited drug is guilty of an offence.

What actions might constitute Manufacture Prohibited Drug?

Examples of Manufacture Prohibited Drug include:

  • Cooking ice in a caravan;
  • Going to your friend’s house and helping him out by operating the pill press;
  • Buying pseudoephedrine from numerous newsagencies and mixing it with other ingredients you’ve bought over time to make MDMA;
  • Going online, finding a recipe or home kit to make your own ecstasy and making it at home; or
  • Taking a cash in hand job to assist a person making heroin out of a makeshift drug lab in the middle of the bush.

What the police must prove:

To convict you of Manufacture Prohibited Drug the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • That either:
    • you were manufacturing or producing prohibited drugs; OR
    • you were aware of and took part in manufacturing or producing prohibited drugs;
  • The substance you manufactured, produced or assisted in manufacturing or producing was a prohibited drug.

Possible defences for Manufacture Prohibited Drug:

The common ways to defend this charge are:

  • To maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act;
  • To argue that you did not manufacture or produce prohibited drugs or that you did not take part in manufacturing or producing prohibited drugs;
  • To argue that, even though you did take part in manufacturing or producing prohibited drugs, you did not knowingly do so;
  • To argue that the substance manufactured or produced was not a prohibited drug; or
  • To raise necessity or duress as the reason for your conduct.

Which court will hear your matter?

The offence is an Indictable Offence and what court your matter will be heard in depends on the amount of the drug that was manufactured.

If the amount of the drug is less than the indictable quantity, then the matter can be finalised in the Local or the District Court.

If the amount of the drug is greater than the indictable quantity then the matter will be finalised in the District or Supreme Court.


Types of penalties:

Jail for a manufacture prohibited drug charge: This is the most serious penalty for a manufacture prohibited drug charge and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

Home Detention for a manufacture prohibited drug charge: Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring. Read more.

Intensive corrections order for a manufacture prohibited drug charge (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.

Suspended sentence for a manufacture prohibited drug charge: This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.

Community service order for a manufacture prohibited drug charge. (CSO): This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.

Good behaviour bond for a manufacture prohibited drug charge: This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.

Fines for a manufacture prohibited drug charge: When deciding the amount of a fine for a manufacture prohibited drug charge the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Section 10 for a manufacture prohibited drug charge: avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.


where to next?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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