Our Result - Case Study - Drug Driving - written by Emily Cousins
Ultimately, Emily submitted to the Court that it should be dealt with without conviction because if the offence was committed on the road, the appropriate penalty would have been an expiation notice, and secondly, that the offence arose out of the use of cannabis for pain-relief purposes rather than recreational purposes. In all of the circumstances the Court agreed with the submissions of Emily, and did not record a conviction for the offence. This client was also fined an amount less than the minimum fine because of the particular circumstance. This was an excellent result, and also meant that the client retained her boat licence.
A client instructed Emily in relation to a drug-driving matter. How this drug-driving matter differed is that it was not drug-driving in the ordinary sense as in drug-driving on the road, it was drug-driving in a boat.
Due to the operation of the Harbors and Navigation Act, drug-driving matters are dealt with differently when based on water than when based on land. Significantly, Emily’s client was not entitled to receive an expiation notice for the offence. Emily received some pragmatic instructions from her client, which was to plead guilty, however, to seek for the matter to be dealt with without conviction. Due to the regulatory nature of the offence, achieving without conviction is difficult. This client had been a long‑time user of cannabis and was advised to do so by a doctor in order to assist with pain relief for chronic pain issues. A letter from the client’s doctor was able to be obtained which confirmed that advice.