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CDPP v Balagar [2021] VCC 427

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty for 1 count of attempting to possess a marketable quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely opium, contrary to ss 11.1(1) and 307.1(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Offence related to 10.83kg of of pure opium.  

Nature and Circumstances: Estimated street value of the drugs was between $309,887.50 and $743,730.  Offender was active and persistent in seeking to take possession of the consignment. The charge is one of attempt not because of anything the offender left undone but because the drug had been replaced by an inert substance. Offender was a willing participant in the offending and participation was motivated by financial gain rather than by any threats to the offender or their family. There was no evidence offender was planning to sell the drug themselves, rather they took possession in the expectation that the drug would be collected by other people.  

Deportation: Offender is currently an unlawful non-citizen and has not had a visa since February 2018. After offender is released from custody, a decision will be made about whether offender will be placed into detention pending a decision as to whether or not to deport them. While offender does not presently seem to appreciate the risk they face of not being permitted to stay in Australia, once offender does so understand, this will weigh on their mind.  

Mental Condition: Mental state means prison has and will weigh more heavily on the offender than a person without those symptoms. Evidence does not establish that there is a serious risk of imprisonment having a significant adverse effect on offender’s mental health. On the contrary, offender has been doing quite well in custody, has sought and received mental health treatment and is engaged in study.  

Offender sentenced to 7 years and 6 months imprisonment with a 5 year and 6 month non-parole period.
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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