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DPP (Cth) v Virgato [2022] VCC 1647

The offender was sentenced following conviction for attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drugs reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully imported contrary to ss 11.1(1) and 307.8(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Offender was also sentenced for state drug offences. Offending related to 2.5 kilograms of cocaine.

Nature and Circumstances: Offender’s role was significant. It was not just the collection of the package or the receipt of the package on the day, it was a combination of allowing their address to be used for the delivery and making a number of earlier enquiries. Even where a person plays a dispensable or interchangeable role, it is still important in the chain of movement of illicit drugs. The quantity of cocaine involved was 1.25 times a commercial quantity. Whilst that is a substantial quantity, it is towards the bottom end of the commercial quantity range.

Mental Condition: Offender’s addiction per se does not provide a basis for mitigation in the sense that it does not lower the moral culpability nor reduce the need for general deterrence. Offender did suffer from impaired mental functioning in a way that was relevant to their offending. That provides some reduction in offender’s moral culpability for offending. However, that reduction should only be a modest one. A prison environment is unlikely to assist in the continued rehabilitation from offender’s condition and is will likely trigger the features that have defined their personality disorder.

Rehabilitation: Offender was charged in July 2019 and spent 30 days in custody before being released on bail. Offender remained on bail for a period of 2 years and 7 months before their trial commenced on 28 February 2022. The relevance of the delay is the progress offender has made in their rehabilitation during that period. Offender did not reoffend in that time and demonstrated further progress in their rehabilitation from drug use and progress in relation to the treatment of their personality disorder. Offender maintained total abstinence from drugs during their time on bail. These matters speak extremely well of offender. Offender’s prospects of rehabilitation are excellent.

Offender was sentenced to 7 years and 9 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 4 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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