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R v Jacques [2021] SASCA 94

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of trafficking in a controlling drug contrary to s 302.4(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of dealing with money valued at $100,000 or more, where there is a risk that it will become an instrument of crime, contrary to s 400.4(2) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 1 count of dealing with the proceeds of indictable crime valued at $10,000 or more contrary to s 400.6(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Offending involved 3.419 kilograms of pure methylamphetamine. Original sentence imposed 3 years imprisonment and a 9 month non-parole period. Crown appealed on the basis that the head sentence and non-parole period were manifestly inadequate.

Nature and Circumstances: Offender operated their own trafficking enterprise and was not answerable to anyone in a hierarchy of a drug trafficking business. Though a third party supplied the offender with the drugs and a customer base, for all intents and purposes they ran their own business. Offending was part of an ongoing commercial enterprise which went beyond funding the offender’s addiction. While there was scope to impose a relatively lenient non-parole period, the circumstances of offending and offender’s previous criminal history required a sentence that continued to place weight on personal deterrence and the seriousness of offending. Non-parole period of just below 25% was not justifiable.

Guilty Plea: Sentencing judge gave extremely high discounts of 33% and 35% for money laundering offences despite the offender’s pleas of guilty being considerably delayed. Offender was arrested in August 2018 and entered not guilty pleas in September 2019 before pleading guilty on 30 September 2020.

Cumulative and Concurrent Sentences: Original sentence for money laundering offences were to be served wholly concurrently. While both offences related to the offender’s involvement in drug trafficking, this was a relatively high level of abstraction. They were separate and distinct instances of offending warranting cumulative sentences.

Leave to appeal granted. Appeal allowed. Offender resentenced to 6 years and 9 months imprisonment with a 4 year non-parole period. 15% discount granted for the offender’s pleas of guilty.
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