This article was written by Andrew Fraser - Senior Associate - Canberra

Andrew works in the areas of criminal law and traffic law, providing practical advice in all of his clients’ matters. Andrew has, over many years, developed positive working relationships with prosecutors, magistrates and judges. His no-nonsense approach means he has a reputation for putting forward the best case possible for clients. Andrew has won many matters for his clients, including...

Supply Controlled Drug To Child For Selling


In ACT, it is an offence to supply a controlled drug to a child or possess a controlled drug with the intention of supplying it to a child. This is a very serious offence, carrying a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment if the quantity is less than a commercial quantity. Where a commercial quantity is involved, the maximum penalty, rises to life imprisonment depending on the quantity of the drug supplied.

The Offence Of Supplying Controlled Drug To Child For Selling

Section 622 of the Criminal Code 2002 outlines that a person commits an offence if they:

  • supply a commercial quantity of a controlled drug to a child; or
  • possess a commercial quantity of a controlled drug with the intention of supplying any of the drug to a child;
  • and the person does so believing that the child intends to sell any of the drug.

If it is proved that the defendant:

  • supplied a trafficable quantity of a controlled drug to a child; or
  • possessed a trafficable quantity of a controlled drug with the intention of supplying any of it to a child;

It is presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that the defendant had the belief about the sale of the drug by the child required for the offence.

What actions might constitute Supplying a Controlled Drug to a Child for Selling?

  1. Giving a 17-year-old enough ecstasy tablets to be a trafficable quantity, ie more than 10 grams, as defined in the Criminal Code Regulation 2019C (Cth)) believing that the teenager was to sell them at a music festival.
  2. Giving a 15 year old cannabis to give to their friends in exchange for money.

What the police must prove

In order to a person to be found guilty of this offence the police must prove that:

the person either:

  • supplied a drug to a child. “Supply” includes “sell”, “give” and “share” but does not include “administer”; or
  • possessed a drug with the intention of suppling it to a child; or
  • the person knew or believed that the child would sell the drug.
  • what was supplied or possessed was a controlled drug which is proven with analytical certificates to this effect.
  • the drug was of a commercial or trafficable quantity, depending on the specific charge.

Possible defences

The possible ways to defend the charge include:

  • maintaining your innocence if you did not commit the act alleged;
  • arguing that you did not supply a drug;
  • arguing that you did not posses the drug with the intention of supplying it to a child;
  • arguing that the drug was not in the quantity alleged;
  • arguing that you did not have the requisite intent;
  • arguing that the person supplied was not a child;
  • arguing that you did not believe the child intended to sell any of the drug;
  • arguing that you considered whether the person was a child and had no reasonable grounds to believe that he or she was a child;

Which court will hear your matter?

The offences are strictly indictable matters and will be finalised  in the ACT Supreme Court.

Some less serious versions of the charges carry 10-year and five-year maximum sentences and can be heard in either the Supreme Court or the ACT Magistrates Court, where the maximum that can be imposed on any individual charge is a fine of $15,000, imprisonment for 5 years or both.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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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