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Director of Public Prosecutions (Cth) v Udemba [2023] VCC 1675

See full judgment: Austlii.

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of attempting to possess a marketable quantity of a border controlled rug contrary to ss 11.1(1) and 307.6(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 1 count of possessing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug reasonably suspected of having been imported contrary to s 307.9(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Offending related to 205–280 grams of pure heroin in relation to count 1 and 249 grams of pure heroin in relation to count 2.

Nature and Circumstances: The amount of heroin involved in each count was significant. In each count, the amount is over 100 times the marketable quantity threshold of 2 grams and is over one-eighth of a commercial quantity, which is 1.5 kilograms. Offender’s role in count 1 involved subterfuge, using false addresses, false names, and different telephone numbers. In conjunction with co-offender, offender made multiple attempts to inquire about and/or collect the consignment. Offender was not the top person in any hierarchy of drug importation, they were clearly in the chain and facilitated the entry of the drugs into Australia. Offender knew that the consignment consisted of illegal illicit drugs, though not necessarily that the drugs were heroin. The offending in relation to count 2 is less serious than count 1. The offending constituted by both counts is objectively serious and offender played an active role in each.

Rehabilitation: Offender entered a plea of guilty at the earliest reasonable opportunity. Offender has shown some remorse, perhaps not strongly directed to having remorse for the consequences of an illicit drug such as heroin being distributed in the community. Offender has no prior criminal history in Australia or Nigeria. Offender’s prospects of rehabilitation are reasonable, given that they will be sentenced to a stern period of imprisonment from which they will hopefully learn not to be involved with drugs again.

Hardship to Offender: In the two years offender has been on remand, offender would have experienced frequent lockdowns, limited access to visitors and many of the programs which would normally run in prison having been suspended or cancelled. Offender faces the prospect of being deported which renders their imprisonment more onerous and constitutes an additional punishment. Offender has experienced a delay which has been unduly long which has caused the matter to hang over offender’s head.

Orders: Offender sentenced to 8 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 5 years and 4 months.

The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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