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DPP v Mathuran [2020] VCC 1121

sentence — import a marketable quantity of a border-controlled drug — additional state offences and uplifted summary charge — offences relate to between 451 and 530g of pure MDMA, between 6 and 7g of pure ketamine and between 4.7 and 6.3g of pure cocaine, as well as 17.7g of pure cocaine, 22.8g of pure MDMA, 5.5g of pure ketamine, 952mg of LSD in combination with another substance and 29.6g of cannabis — character — s 16A(2)(m) — references from long-term friends speak of offender as kind considerable and hardworking individual and loving family man — note offender’s self-improvement since charged with offending and observed offender’s remorse and steps taken to address offending including drug counselling and asking for support — no prior convictions, matters pending or outstanding — offender otherwise of good character and take this into consideration in mitigation of offender’s sentence — guilty plea — s 16A(2)(g) — delay — offender always intended on pleading guilty but delay in analysis prevented matters progressing and offender had matter hanging over their head for that period of delay — 9 months delay before able to plead guilty is not an insignificant period — take into account plea of guilty at earliest opportunity with utilitarian value as well as being reflective of offender’s remorse — consider period and effects of delay to be significant — utilitarian value of guilty plea comes into sharper focus now in midst of COVID-19 pandemic — offender indicated and maintained plea in midst of these difficult times — rehabilitation — offender demonstrated substantial rehabilitation during period particularly in relation to illicit substance abuse — had matter hanging over offender’s head and certainty of gaol hanging over offender’s head for lengthy period of time — offender no doubt older and wise than when committed offences and facing court during a pandemic — regard prospects of rehabilitation as very good — contrition — s 16(2)(f) — friends’ references noted offender expressed remorse for their offending as well as psychologist report which stated that offender expressed degree of remorse for their actions — COVID-19 — offender’s first time in prison in extraordinary circumstances being experienced in the community at present due to the COVID-19 pandemic — whilst no evidence of outbreak in prison at present, and sentencing judge did not assume there inevitably will be a serious outbreak, sentencing judge accepted conditions in custody at present considerably more onerous than previous, if for no other reason that due to ceasing of visits — limited courses and rehabilitation programs available and recreation also necessarily limited — expected that situation will continue for some indeterminate time — general anxiety in community of untethered outbreak understandably harder to bear if experienced by prisoner in a regulated and managed environment such as a prison, where one has restricted control over who one is exposed to and how — accept level concern offender has and anxiety for others, their parents, during this time is more difficult to bear whilst incarcerated— nature and circumstances of the offence — s 16A(2)(a) — postal method does say something about offender — relevant to sentencing judge’s assessment of offender’s drift into serious criminality and prospects of rehabilitation — offender person of otherwise good character who descended into a party lifestyle — over time drift into serious criminality occurred due to availability of means of importing which eased manner in which someone of offender’s background and predisposition can engage with organised crime — offender did not receive any packages — to a substantial degree offender persisted with further importations once they concluded prior packages failed for some reason — specific deterrence — s 16A(2)(j) — largely for person of offender’s background to be first time experience of custody of some length, specific deterrence is not a major consideration — general deterrence — s 16A(2)(ja) — general deterrence is a major consideration — sentence — imposed 3 years’ imprisonment to be released after 15 months on recognisance to be of good behaviour for the remaining 21 months — s 6AAA — but for pleas of guilty, sentencing judge would have imposed 4 years’ and 6 months imprisonment with a 2 year and 9 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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