Case Study: Conviction overturned on two drug charges for 19 year old man.

Posted by janelle.tarabay on 03 November 2017

Last week Mikaela appeared In the District Court for a 19 year old man who was first charged with possession of cannabis and then charged with the same offence again a few weeks later.

On both occasions, Mikaela’s client was caught when being pulled over for a random breath test.

On sentence in the Local Court, despite providing evidence of rehabilitation and impact of conviction, Mikaela’s client was convicted of both offences and placed on a section 9 good behaviour bond. Carrying a criminal record, was a devastating result for the client.

Mikaela then saw the client and spoke to him about his automatic right to appeal the severity of his sentence to the District Court, which would involve a rehearing of the sentence as well as an opportunity to put on further evidence.

In preparation for the severity appeal, Mikaela’s client continued taking steps of rehabilitation, obtained full time employment and enrolled in university for next year. He also obtained updated character references to support his ongoing rehabilitation. In addition, Mikaela assisted him in drafting a detailed affidavit which was sworn evidence and related to the offending and why it was unlikely that he would be back before the court.

When Mikaela appeared before the District Court, she prepared her submissions to address the most concerning issue upfront, namely, that her client had been charged twice. She then went on to explain that although that was a significant factor against her client obtaining a section 10, there were other factors that also needed to be taken into consideration, such as: his young age, the relatively low level of seriousness, his remorse, his significant steps of rehabilitation, his prior good character and the impact of a conviction.

Although the Judge was hesitant at first, Mikaela was able to persuade the Judge that her client should be afforded a second chance and not have a conviction recorded against him. Mikaela’s client therefore received two section 10, non-convictions, on the promise that he be of good behaviour for a period of 12 months.

This was a life changing decision for Mikaela’s client who is at the start of his career and is due to travel overseas.

Cases such as this highlight the importance of considering severity appeals in appropriate cases, as District Court Judges may have a different sentencing view than a Local Court Magistrate.

If you have been convicted in the Local Court recently and are unhappy with the sentence, you have an automatic right of appeal. You only have 28 days to appeal so it is important that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. If you are outside this deadline however, there is still an opportunity to appeal your sentence within 3 months.

If you wish to discuss your Local Court sentence with us and obtain advice about the prospects of a severity appeal to the District Court please contact us on (02) 9025 9888 or at

If you are still awaiting sentence in the Local Court or have just been charged with Possession of a Prohibited Drug  or another offence, please also contact us to discuss your options to resolve the matter in the Local Court.

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