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The Queen v Goh & Or [2022] VCC 951

Goh was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border-controlled drug contrary to ss 307.5(1) and 11.1(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Chan was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully imported contrary to ss 307.8(1) and 11.1(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Additional attempted drug possession offences were taken into account pursuant to s 16BA. Offending related to 16 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Nature and Circumstances: Offenders attempted to possess 16 kilograms of imported methamphetamine, being approximately 20 times the designated commercial quantity. The evidence suggests the offenders expected $500 per kilogram of drugs handled to be split between the two of them. This is not an insignificant amount but is utterly disproportionate to the risks taken. Offenders were employees of others who stood to profit. Offenders’ roles were crucial to the aims of the importation and required a great deal of trust to be placed in them. Their moral culpability is high.

Guilty Plea: Goh’s plea was entered at the earliest reasonable opportunity and spared very significant time and resources that would otherwise have been expended. A trial would have been weeks long and both legally and factually complicated. It would have required the engagement of interpreters. Goh’s plea has very substantial utilitarian worth. While Chan’s plea was entered at a later stage, their circumstances were somewhat more complicated due to the allegations that are now the subject of s 16BA considerations.

Hardship: It was alleged that, as a direct result of their conviction, Goh’s wife would no longer be entitled to reside in Malaysia and would be deported to Indonesia. It is to be taken into account that imprisonment will be more burdensome for Goh as they are understandably anxious about the impact it will have upon their family. As foreign nationals, imprisonment in Australia represents a greater burden than would be the case for a prisoner with family and other support in close proximity. Both offenders face the apparently inevitable prospect of deportation upon completion of their sentences. Offenders have been imprisoned at a time the prison environment has been made more burdensome by reason of pandemic restrictions.

Goh sentenced to 7 years and 6 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 5 years. Chan sentenced to 8 years and 9 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 6 years and 3 months.
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