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DPP v Nguyen [2019] VCC 108

sentence — attempting to possess commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border-controlled drug — offence relates to 22.277 kilograms of pure methamphetamine — hardship — argued that offender’s mother’s diabetes, elevated blood pressure and depression should be taken into account by court in determining exceptional circumstances — no actual medical evidence tendered about mother’s medical condition and mother continued to perform role of chief cook at the family restaurant — evidence in relation to family restaurant falls short of meeting high test of exceptional hardship — also relied upon offender’s wife’s endometriosis condition — sentencing judge considered this to be somewhat vague support for proposition of exceptional hardship — for offender to rely upon hardship that imprisonment creates for people other than offender is an appeal for mercy — legal authorities make it plain that court’s discretion to exercise mercy on that basis should only be exercised in exceptional circumstances because imprisoning a person will usually adversely impact on that person’s family — the law recognises that if lenience is given to an offender because of family hardship that results in the guilty offender benefitting so that their innocent family will not be so adversely affected — this means that an equally guilty offender who does not have a family in need would unjustly receive a less lenient sentence — objective seriousness — seriousness of this offending — illicit drugs are a scourge on our society — detrimental to health of users and relationship of users with family and community — scourge of illicit drugs is responsible for a huge toll financially and very significant adverse impact on welfare of whole community — general deterrence — s 16A(2)(ja) — courts have repeatedly emphasised difficulty in detecting importation of illicit drugs and the great social harm they cause mean that principal emphasis in sentencing should be upon deterrence and punishment — rehabilitation — s 16A(2)(n) — offender apparently overcame substance abuse disorder since arrest and overcame problem gambling disorder by 2015 — taken together with intelligence, demonstrated capacity for high work and strong family support, sentencing judge considers good prospects of rehabilitation — continued to maintain innocence in spite of jury verdict, so not remorseful — convicted and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment with 6 year and 10 month non-parole period
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