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R v Russell [2022] NSWDC 416

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug contrary to ss 11.1(1) and 307.5(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1 count of importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug contrary to s 307.1(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, and 1 count of conspiring to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug contrary to ss 11.5(1) and 307.5(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Offender also sentenced for state drug supply offences. Offending related to 231.94 kilograms of pure methamphetamine. Additional proceeds of crime and perversion of the course of justice offences were taken into account under s 16BA.

Nature and Circumstances: Offender distanced themselves from the drugs to protect themselves from detection by the authorities. Offender had actual knowledge of the drugs and amounts involved. Offending involved substantial premeditation and planning and was not isolated but was part of a series of criminal acts over an extended period. The quantity in count 1 was more than 74 times the commercial quantity, count 2 was more than 16 times the commercial quantity, and count 8 was more than 218 times the commercial quantity.

Mental Condition: Offender was suffering from a serious neuropsychological condition impacting their memory and executive functioning. Offender’s capacity to reason was adversely impacted by their condition leading them to discount the consequences of their actions and increase their substance use which further impacted their judgement and decision-making. There was some causal connection between offender’s personality changes and their involvement in the offending conduct. Offender’s moral culpability is reduced to some extent. Offender’s condition will likely deteriorate in the next 10 years and a prolonged period of incarceration is likely to accelerate their decline. There is a significant risk that offender will develop dementia or another neurodegenerative disease. If they do, their continued incarceration will be the antithesis of the nurturing and supportive environment needed. If offender develops dementia, their life expectance will be significantly shortened and their continued incarceration will accelerate the progress of the disease.

Rehabilitation: Offender’s pleas of guilty indicate remorse. There is no other evidence of contrition or remorse. Offender has good prospects of rehabilitation. Offender has good family support and their family are now aware of the extent of their neurophysical condition and are willing to support them. Offender is now worried about their cognitive decline and is more likely to focus on obtaining appropriate treatment to delay any further decline.

Offender sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 7 years for the federal offences.
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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