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Nicolas v The Queen [2021] NSWCCA 89

The offender was sentenced following pleading guilty to 1 count of importing 3 quantities of a border-controlled drug, each being a commercial quantity of methylamphetamine contrary to ss 307.1 and 311.13 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. The offence related to 20.2kg of of methylamphetamine. Original sentence imposed 15 years imprisonment with a 10 year non-parole period. Additional offences taken into account under s 16BA. The offender appealed on the basis that the sentencing judge did not have regard to the utilitarian value of their guilty plea.  

Guilty Plea: Sentence was handed down prior to the decision in Xiao. Offender’s progress as to rehabilitation in over 5 years in custody is mixed. Prospects of rehabilitation remain guarded but are advanced from what they were at time of sentence. Rolling of three charges into one count provides some explanation as to why the plea was entered at such a late stage. Although the plea was entered at the eleventh hour, it nevertheless avoided a trial which is a significant saving of resources. Discount in the order of 10% was warranted to reflect the utilitarian considerations of the plea.  

Leave to appeal granted. Appeal allowed. Original sentence quashed and offender sentenced to 14 years and 5 months imprisonment with a 9 year non-parole period.
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