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...

Procuring Child To Traffic In Controlled Drug


It is an offence to procure a child to traffic in a controlled drug. Where the drug involved is of a commercial quantity, imprisonment for life applies as the maximum penalty. The maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment and/or 2500 penalty units if the offence does not involve a commercial quantity.

The Offence of Procure Child to Traffic In Controlled Drug

Section 624 of the Criminal Code 2002 describes the offence of procures a child to traffic in a commercial quantity of a controlled drug.

The Code states that a person “traffics” in a controlled drug if they:

  • sell the drug; or
  • prepare the drug for supply;
  • with the intention of selling any of it; or
  • believing that someone else intends to sell any of it; or
  • transport the drug:
  • with the intention of selling any of it; or
  • believing that someone else intends to sell any of it; or
  • guard or conceal the drug with the intention of—
  • selling any of it; or
  • helping someone else to sell any of it; or
  • possess the drug with the intention of selling any of it.

The offence applies whether the child was procured to traffic in a commercial quantity of a controlled drug on a single occasion or over numerous occasions.

While it is not defined in the Code, the Courts have taken “procure” to mean “persuade”, “induce” or “influence”: R v Castiglione [1963] SR (NSW) 393; [1963] NSWR 1; (1963) 80 WN (NSW) 537 (CCA). “Procure” has also been judicially held to mean “recruit”: R v Broadfoot [1976] 3 All ER 753; 64 Cr All R 71 (CCA).

The Section stipulates that a person procures a child to traffic in a controlled drug if:

  • the person procures the child to sell the drug; or
  • the person, with the intention of selling any of the drug or believing that someone else intends to sell any of the drug, procures the child to prepare the drug for supply or to transport the drug; or
  •  the person, with the intention of selling any of the drug or assisting someone else to sell any of the drug, procures the child to guard or conceal the drug.

What actions might constitute Procuring a Child to Traffic in a Controlled Drug?

  • Recruiting or persuading a child to sell drugs to others;
  • Directing a child to put a drug into bags ready for sale;
  • Paying a child to stay guard over a cache of drugs, or to transport drugs.

What police must prove

To find a person guilty of this offence it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • they procured someone to traffic in drugs, or to prepare, transport, guard or conceal drugs;
  • the person was a child;
  • the material is the drug alleged (the Prosecution must produce analytical certificates to prove this);
  • the drug is in the quantity alleged, depending on the specific charge;
  • that they had no reasonable grounds to believe the person was not a child.

Defences

It is a defence to a prosecution for an offence against this Section if the defendant proves that they:

  • considered whether or not the person procured was a child; and
  •  had no reasonable grounds for believing that the person was a child.

Other possible ways to defend this charge include:

  • maintaining your innocence if you did not commit the act alleged;
  • arguing that what you did not amount to procuring;
  • arguing that the material alleged is not a controlled drug;
  • arguing that it is not in the quantity as charged;
  • arguing that the person involved was not a child;

Which court will hear your matter?

As these matters carry maximum penalties of imprisonment for life or 25 years, they are strictly indictable and will be heard in the ACT Supreme Court.

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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