Attempt to Possess Marketable Quantity of Heroin
This was an interstate prosecution run by the Commonwealth.
The client was a drug mule who was new to the country and had been asked to drive from Sydney to Melbourne to pick up a parcel. The federal police had already intercepted the parcel that was to be picked up and replaced the drugs in the parcel with a fake substance.
When the client attempted to pick up the parcel the police swooped. During the recorded interview, despite the client’s broken English, the police opted not to wait until an interpreter could be present, instead relying on the client’s own assertion that he would be happy to proceed.
The client was charged with Attempt to Possess a Marketable Quantity of Heroin. The matter ran to committal (hearing before trial).
During the committal it was accepted by the informant (the police officer who charged the client) that the client had a limited grasp of the English language and that there was no evidence on the brief to establish that the client knew he was picking up drugs or that he knew that there was any potential for those drugs to be sold. The language barrier cast doubt on the admissibility of the Record of Interview.
As to whether the client knew what he was doing, the prosecutor contended that there was enough evidence to leave the question of guilt open to a jury. The Magistrate disagreed and struck the matter out. The client walked free that day.