Court of Appeal

R v Bonham; Ex parte Director of Public Prosecutions (Cth) [2014] QCA 140 ; (2014) 242 A Crim R 162 (14/0079) Margaret McMurdo P and Philippides and Dalton JJ 13 June 2014

Full-text: QCA14-140.pdf

Catchwords

CRIMINAL LAW APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL APPEAL AGAINST SENTENCE GROUNDS FOR INTERFERENCE SENTENCE MANIFESTLY INADEQUATE where the respondent pleaded guilty to four counts of recklessly importing marketable quantities of border controlled drugs and one count of importing border controlled drugs where the respondent was sentenced to an effective term of four years imprisonment to be released on parole after serving six months where the respondent was engaged in the lawful business of importing substances to assist him in making a lawful cannabis-like substance where the respondent's customers asked him if he could lawfully supply "party pills" where the respondent adopted amateurish means to research the drug's legality and made enquiries which were not particularly broad or diligent where the respondent threw the imported drugs away as soon as he realised they were illegal whether the sentence imposed was manifestly inadequate

Summary Notes

Sentence Appeal by Director of Public Prosecutions (Cth) where the respondent pleaded guilty to four counts of recklessly importing marketable quantities of border controlled drugs and one count of importing border controlled drugs where the respondent was sentenced to an effective term of four years imprisonment to be released on parole after serving six months where the respondent was engaged in the lawful business of importing substances to assist him in making a lawful cannabis-like substance where the respondent's customers asked him if he could lawfully supply "party pills" where the respondent adopted amateurish means to research the drug's legality and made enquiries which were not particularly broad or diligent where the respondent checked the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld) on the AustLII website where this did not disclose that the substances the subject of counts 1 to 5 were proscribed, he imported the drugs where the respondent threw the imported drugs away as soon as he realised they were illegal whether the sentence imposed was manifestly inadequate where in determining whether the sentence was manifestly inadequate, this Court must consider the sentence as a whole, both the head sentence and the non-parole period where the judge's uncontested findings meant that, in exercising the sentencing discretion, his Honour was right to give some weight to the respondent's belief, albeit reckless, that he was acting lawfully where the judge accepted cogent evidence, also accepted by the jury, that the respondent was running a legitimate and successful business importing lawful substances and that he searched the AustLII website to ascertain whether the substances were proscribed before he imported them where the respondent did not profit from his endeavours; indeed, he lost the money he invested and destroyed the border-controlled drugs he received upon learning that they were proscribed where the serious aspects of the offending warranted a four year head sentence but the novel combination of mitigating features justified the respondent spending an unusually short proportion of that sentence in actual custody where in this extraordinary case, a non-parole period of six months imprisonment being but one-eighth of the overall head sentence did not make the sentence manifestly inadequate where the sentencing discretion was soundly exercised. Appeal dismissed.