Crimes Act Case Study
Rhonda and Ketut met on a beach in Bali. After a very brief whirlwind romance lasting 7 days (the length of Rhonda’s visa), Ketut decided to accompany Rhonda back to Australia. Wrapped in Rhonda’s embrace while they were waiting in line to check in their baggage, Ketut failed to notice that Jim, who was standing immediately behind him in the line, had swapped their bags. Jim’s plain black suitcase was identical to Ketut’s suitcase. Just before it was time for Ketut to check in his luggage, Jim left the queue with Ketut’s suitcase and disappeared. Not realising that the suitcase in his possession was not his own, Ketut handed the suitcase over and it was duly checked in.
On arrival, Ketut and Rhonda collected their baggage. They were picked up by Sandra, one of Rhonda’s house mates. They failed to notice that their taxi was being followed by an unmarked federal police car. Customs and the Australian federal police had received a tip off that Ketut’s suitcase contained heroin destined for a well-known drug trafficking group. Rather than detain Ketut at the airport, the police decided to follow Ketut to see if he would lead them to the kingpins in the crime group.
Ketut realised he had the wrong suitcase when he opened it on arrival at Rhonda’s house. He did not notice the heroin which was distributed between the lining and outer cover of the suitcase. He had only had a few pair of shorts and a couple of T shirts in his own suitcase so he wasn’t very concerned about the loss. He asked Rhonda if she would take the suitcase back to the airport as the owner must be concerned. He put the suitcase back in the boot of Sandra’s car with Rhonda’s workbag.
Meanwhile, Rhonda was called into work shortly after they arrived. Rhonda didn’t have her own car as it was in for repairs so she asked Sandra for another lift. Unfortunately, they were involved in a collision on the way, while Rhonda was telling Sandra all about her romantic holiday. The police had followed Sandra’s car when they saw Ketut replace the suitcase and had failed to brake in time when Sandra slammed on her own brakes to avoid a flock of swans.
Sandra’s boot flew open with the impact and the suitcase was thrown out with the force of the collision. When several packages of heroin exploded on the police car, they decided it was impossible for them to continue to their investigation and ‘follow the heroin’. They arrested Rhonda and Sandra. On further inquiry, they found 50 gm cannabis in Sandra’s car boot and traces of cannabis in Rhonda’s bag. Much of the heroin had blown away once the bags were broken. The remaining heroin weighed 0.945 kg. Ketut was arrested later that night.
Ketut, Rhonda, and Sandra have come to you for advice.
1. What offences could Ketut, Rhonda, and Sandra be charged with under Victorian and federal drug laws? Explain your response using relevant legislation and case law. Deal with each person in turn.
2. Do Ketut, Rhonda, and Sandra have any defences under Victorian and federal drug laws? Explain your response using relevant legislation and case law. Deal with each person in turn.
1. Answer each question in turn and clearly indicate which question you are answering
1. The case study is based on the materials in module 4. This is not a research task. You only need to use the materials provided. This includes the notes, the links to cases and the legislation referred to in the notes and in Blackboard.. You are not required to do any extra research for this task.
2. You should discuss any offences and defences that could potentially arise on the facts. If you think that more evidence would be needed to proceed with any offence or defence, you should point that out.
3. It should be clear when you are referring to Commonwealth drug offences and Victorian drug offences. While there is some overlap, Commonwealth drug offences are generally linked in some way to importation.
1. You may use any recognised referencing system.
2. If you are using APA or Harvard (both use the ‘bracket’ system), you can reference cases in-text as e.g. (Smith 1989) or (R v Smith 1989) and then provide the full citation in your bibliography , e.g. R v Smith (1989) VR 64
3. Legislation can also be referenced in-text but be careful to identify the jurisdiction. The Commonwealth Crimes Act is not the same as the Victorian Crimes Act . You should indicate the year and the jurisdiction e.g. Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) or Crimes Act 1914 (Cth). See the written notes for a more detailed example.
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