Criminal LawDrug offences

Supplying dangerous drugs – what does it really mean?

By November 21, 2018 No Comments
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When we think about supplying drugs, most of us would usually think of one person giving or selling drugs to another person. In reality, the law in Queensland takes a much wider approach to what supplying really means.

This is a specific article dealing with the ‘extended definition’ of supply in Queensland. We also have a general guide about the offence of supplying dangerous drugs in Queensland which explores penalties, evidence and negotiation options in detail.

The extended definition of supplying

Section 4 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 provides for an ‘extended definition,’ stating that supply means:

  1. give, distribute, sell, administer, transport or supply; or
  2. offering to do any act specified in subparagraph (i); or
  • doing or offering to do any act preparatory to, in furtherance of, or for the purpose of, any act specified in subparagraph (i).

In simpler terms, the extended definition means that supplying doesn’t just mean giving or selling another person drugs. It captures attempts, offers and any step a person takes in planning supply.

Examples of extended types of supplying

In the eyes of the law, sharing is not caring. Giving a pill to a mate or administering an intravenous drug would both be examples of supplying. Although a Court would take into account when sentencing that no financial gain was made, it is still a very serious offence.

An offer to supply covers situations where the actual supply isn’t carried out or can’t be proved. This is often treated just as seriously as actual supply, particularly when there is a financial aspect.

Acts preparatory to supply include any action or action taken prior to the actual supply. For example, a person simply dividing up a drug into smaller quantities with the intention to later sell them can amount to an offence of supplying.

Supplying to yourself

In the landmark case of Maroney, the Queensland Court of Appeal ruled that assisting another person to supply to himself or herself was a valid form of supplying. The decision was upheld by the majority of the High Court.

In Maroney, an inmate facilitated the supply of heroin via a third party to himself. It was found that the person had precured the supply to himself and was therefore a party to the offence of supplying dangerous drugs.

After breaking down the meaning of supply under the law, it is much more complex than it appears at first glance. People charged under the extended definition often assume they were committing a less serious offence like possession or no offence at all.