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CDPP v Cheng [2023] VCC 1715

See full judgment: Austlii.

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border controlled drug, contrary to the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Offending related to 326.7 kilograms of pure heroin.

Nature and Circumstances: Offence is an objectively serious one as indicated by the maximum penalty of life imprisonment. An offence of attempted possession is not in a less serious category than an offence of importation. Offender was aware that the substance was heroin of a substantial amount exceeding the commercial quantity. There is no evidence that offender had knowledge of precisely how much was involved, or of the purity levels or exact street values of the drugs. Offender was not the organiser or financer of this enterprise, their role was a relatively limited one and they did not appear to have acted independently or autonomously. Offender’s criminal involvement in this offending was confined to two days and constitutes a discreet aspect of the overall attempted importation. Offender engaged in conduct for profit. 

Family and Dependants: Offender’s sentence will have probable hardship on their young family in Malaysia. Offender’s family home has now been sold. Their daughter was also forced to stop school. Offender’s wife is under considerable strain, working and trying to look after their young children, and it is likely that she will have to return to the Philippines to get some extra help. In her letter to the court, offender’s wife describes how significantly life has changed for her and their children.

Offender sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment with a non-parole period of 8 years.

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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