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R v Pickering-Wilson [2022] ACTSC 353

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of attempting to possess a marketable quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug contrary to ss 11.1(1) and 307.6(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Offending related to 706.98 grams of pure cocaine.

Nature and Circumstances: Offender agreed to take possession of the consignment and store it in their residence. Offender was aware that the consignment was being delivered from an international location and had formed an assumption that it would contain cocaine. This role is limited, but not insignificant. The quantity of drug imported was substantial. The pure weight is approximately 353 times the marketable quantity. There is no evidence that offender had any prior knowledge of the quantity of drug contained in the consignment. Objective seriousness of offending was in the low range but toward the upper end of that range.

Antecedents: Offender has a history of drug abuse commencing at a young age. Amongst other things, offender has convictions for a range of driving offences, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and damage to property not exceeding $5,000. Offender experienced an extremely difficult childhood that was marred by significant childhood disadvantage, particularly prolonged exposure to family violence, and that this impacted on their social and emotional wellbeing enlivening the principles in Bugmy. However, this is not a case where the circumstances of deprivation significantly reduce offender’s moral culpability.

Mental Condition: Offender meets the DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for persistent depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and substance use disorder. The disorders in combinations impaired, to some degree, offender’s ability to make a reasoned judgment about their initial decision to participate in offending. However, this causal connection was not so significant that offender’s moral culpability should be reduced.

Rehabilitation: The pre-sentence report assessed offender as at medium to low risk of re-offending. Given offender’s youth and protective factors such as stable accommodation and positive family relationships, offender has reasonable prosects of rehabilitation. The greatest risk for recidivism is offender’s illicit substance use and symptomatology associated with the diagnosed impairments.

Offender sentenced to 3 years and 7 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 2 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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