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      Drug Supply & Proceeds of Crime Charges Withdrawn

      Our client is a 20-year-old international rugby player. He was playing first grade in Australia and had recently received an offer to play professionally in France.

      On the day of the incident he was driving a friend to Darling Harbour in Sydney.

      While attempting to make a right turn, a pedestrian ran in front of his vehicle. He stopped and began having a verbal argument with the pedestrian.

      Unbeknownst to him, a police vehicle was behind him. The police vehicle’s sirens were activated for our client to move his vehicle and shortly thereafter pull over.

      Police approached our client and began questioning him. In the course of questioning, our client said that he was heading to Home Bar to pick up a mate, but had difficulty in providing a name for this mate. Police were aware that Home Bar was in fact closed due to COVID restrictions.

      Based on this, as well as Darling Harbour being a ‘known area for drug supply’, police conducted a search of the vehicle claiming they had a reasonable suspicion that drugs were in the vehicle.

      He was placed under arrest and cautioned as to his right to silence.

      As a result of their search, they located bags of cocaine and methylamphetamine, as well as a large amount of cash. The cash was found in the centre console, while the cocaine was found in the driver side door, under our client’s keys. It would have been in plain sight of the driver.

      The methylamphetamine was found in the passenger side door where our client’s friend was sitting. There was also cocaine found under the passenger seat.

      A short time later Police had our client use his fingerprint to open his phone so they could view his messages. The messages indicated significant drug supply activity.

      Our client and his friend were charged with drug supply and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime. The case was listed at Downing Centre Local Court.

      He came to us distraught that his career would be over if he were convicted of the offences.

      We immediately got to work preparing his defence. First, we obtained a statement from a friend of our client who confirmed that the cash was obtained legitimately as a result of gambling.

      We then subpoenaed the criminal history of the passenger. This revealed a lengthy criminal record for offences of dishonesty, violence and being dealt with by the drug court.

      We then obtained body worn footage of the police officers which had recorded most of the interaction.

      After reviewing this material, we wrote representations to police seeking the charges be dropped on the following basis’:

      • That the stopping of our client’s vehicle was unlawful as police did not have any reasonable suspicion that an offence had occurred at that time;
      • That the search of our client’s vehicle was unlawful as police did not have any reasonable suspicion that there were drugs in the vehicle;
      • That police obtaining access to our client’s mobile phone by having him use his fingerprint was a breach of his right to silence and a separate caution was required for this;
      • That Police could not prove exclusive possession of the drugs on the part of our client, as they could have belonged to the passenger – especially given his criminal record.

      Ultimately, after weeks of negotiations, police were persuaded to withdraw the proceeds of crime and drug supply charges against our client.

      As such, he is now able to continue his career. We were also able to ensure that his name was not mentioned in the media.

      Our client and his family were overjoyed with the result.

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