Virtual You be the Judge Drug Trafficking Script

Trafficking in a Drug of Dependence

Offender: Terri (County Court)

Page 2 (Having clicked on Terri)

Video – Terri sits at a kitchen table and describes the circumstances of her drug trafficking offence.

Terri says:

“My Mum’s always stressing about money. She drives me nuts.

“She took me on a holiday for a week to Melbourne. And it wasn’t really a holiday. She met this guy at a party and he said he’d give her $20 for a box of these flu tablets that only cost like $10, so we‘d almost make $10 from a packet.

“So she hired a car and we drove around the city all week and went to all different chemists. You just buy them over the counter like you didn’t need a prescription or anything. So I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. Like I didn’t know it was illegal or anything. And we bought 3,263 tablets all up and I counted them. And I took them out of the packets and put them in little plastic containers.

“We had a fun week but when we were returning the car, the cops turned up and they searched the car. And I reckon that it was the girl at the last chemist that dobbed us in.”

Instructions

Page 3 (Having clicked take on the case)

Video of Terri in an interview room.

Voice over:

Terri has been convicted of trafficking in pseudoephedrine, a drug of dependence. This crime carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment. As the judge, you must consider:

  • What is fair punishment for Terri?
  • What are her prospects for rehabilitation?
  • Is she a threat to the community?
  • Or is there a risk she will reoffend?
  • Will a severe sentence deter others from this crime?

Instructions

To find out more about sentencing options, click on the button, or select continue…

Page 4 (Having clicked to find out more)

A pop-up window describes the purposes of sentencing and sentencing factors.

Voice over:

Here are some more things to keep in mind while sentencing.

Text:

Purposes of sentencing

The only purposes for which a sentence can be imposed are:

  • Just punishment
  • Specific and general deterrence
  • Rehabilitation
  • Denunciation
  • To protect the community from the offender.

Sentencing factors

A judge must take into account these factors when sentencing:

  • Maximum penalty and current sentencing practice
  • Nature and gravity of the offence
  • Offender’s responsibility and culpability and previous character
  • If the offence was motivated by hatred or prejudice
  • Impact of the offence on any victim
  • Plea of guilty
  • Aggravating and mitigating factors.

Page 5 (Having clicked continue on page 3)

Image of a courtroom, with the prosecutor and defence lawyers at the bar table, and Terri in the interview room, all ready to answer the questions listed below their pictures.

Voice over:

To find out more, click on a question. You will need to ask at least four questions to move on, but the more you ask, the more informed your sentencing will be.

Page 5a (Defence lawyer – first question: “Did she plead guilty or not guilty?”)

Video of defence lawyer speaking to the judge, answering question 1.

Defence counsel:

“Your honour, Ms Nolan pleaded guilty at an early stage. She was cooperative with police from the moment of her arrest.”

Page 5b (Defence lawyer – second question: “Has Terri shown any remorse?”)

Video of defence lawyer speaking to the judge, answering question 2.

Defence counsel:

“My client feels genuine remorse for what she and her mother have done. Neither of them realised what they were doing constituted the crime of trafficking in a drug of dependence, because the tablets could be readily bought without a prescription.”

Page 5c (Defence lawyer – third question: “Is she likely to do this again?”)

Video of defence lawyer speaking to the judge, answering question 3.

Defence counsel:

“Now that she has been made aware of the seriousness of her actions, it is highly unlikely Ms Nolan will reoffend.”

Page 5d (Terri – first question: “Do you have a job?”)

Video of Terri in interview answering question 1.

Terri says:

“I’m 19, I work as a waitress, it’s just casual stuff. I finished school in year 11. It wasn’t really working out for me.”

Page 5e (Terri – second question: “Where do you live?”)

Video of Terri in interview answering question 2.

Terri says:

“I live with my mum and my little sister. My mum works. We live in a big country town just outside Melbourne.

"I love hockey. I help out with the under nines and I helped out with a fundraiser for the team last year.”

Page 5f (Terri – third question: “Why did you do it?”)

Video of Terri in interview answering question 3.

Terri says:

“Well, it was mainly my mum’s idea. She said we could use the money to go on a trip with the local hockey team that I play with.”

Page 5g (Prosecutor – first question: “Has she committed any other crimes?”)

Video of the prosecutor speaking to the judge, answering question 1.

Prosecutor says:

“Your Honour, she has no prior convictions.”

Page 5h (Prosecutor – second question: “What sentences were recently given for similar crimes?”)

Video of the prosecutor speaking to the judge, answering question 2.

Prosecutor says:

“For an offence like this, in recent years, more than half of the people sentenced for trafficking in a drug of dependence did not receive a period of imprisonment. A non-custodial sentence would be considered appropriate for circumstances such as these.”

Page 5i (Prosecutor – third question: “Why did she commit this crime?”)

Video of the prosecutor speaking to the judge, answering question 3.

Prosecutor says:

“Ms Nolan was lured by the prospect of easy money. That was her only concern, to make $6,000. Your Honour, she had no regard for the potential impact of helping drugs get onto our streets.”

Page 6 (Having clicked continue on page 5 – pre-sentence report)

Picture of part of Terri’s pre-sentence report.

Voice over:

Judges also need to consider other information. This is part of a pre-sentence report from community corrections.

Voice over and text on screen:

“Ms Nolan would be suitable for a community correction order with supervision by Community Corrections.

She would benefit from performing a period of unpaid community work.”

Page 7 (Having clicked continue – how to select a sentence)

Picture of the offender and a choice of sentences to choose from. They include imprisonment, community correction order and fine.

Voice over:

This crime has a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment. Which type of sentence would you choose?

Instructions

How to select a sentence:

  • Cursor over sentence for more information
  • Select the sentence which best fits the crime
  • Next you will have to select how long the sentence will be.

Imprisonment – most severe sentence. Offender loses freedom and is held in prison. Maximum 15 years.

Page 8a (Having selected imprisonment)

Picture of a sentence length sliding scale. Choose the length of imprisonment from between six months and 15 years.

Instructions

How to select how long:

  1. Use the slider to select how long the sentence will be
  2. Then click continue.

Community correction order – a community correction order combines supervision with conditions that can include unpaid community work, treatment programs and curfews. Maximum 15 years.

Page 8b (Having selected community correction order)

Picture of a sliding scale indicating sentence length. Choose the length of the community correction order from between six months and 15 years.

Instructions

How to select how long:

  1. Use the slider to select how long the sentence will be
  2. Then click continue.

Fine – The maximum fine for this offence is 1,800 penalty units. Fines are penalties of money that the offender must pay. The value of a fine is called a penalty unit. One penalty unit is roughly equal to $140, although the actual amount increases slightly every year.

Page 8c (Having selected fine)

Picture of a sliding scale indicating amount of fine. Choose the amount of the fine between one unit and 1,800 units.

Instructions

How to select how much:

  1. Use the slider to select how much the fine will be
  2. Then click continue.

Page 9 (Having selected a sentence)

Video of Terri standing in the dock to hear her sentence from the judge.

Judge’s sentence and comments:

“Could you now please stand.

“You are a youthful offender and your rehabilitation is a significant factor for me to consider in sentencing you for this offence.

“You may not have realised that what you were doing was trafficking in a drug of dependence because these tablets were readily available across the pharmacy counter.

“However, no average member of the community is naïve enough to think that some unidentified person is going to pay you twice the value of a restricted pharmaceutical product without there being some level of criminality involved in that transaction.

“Your involvement in this offending was initiated by your mother, a person who, on this occasion, was not guiding you into your early adult life as a law abiding citizen that you had been up until that moment.

“I take into account that you and your mother have lost about $4,000 in the enterprise.

“I sentence you to be placed on a community correction order for a period of 12 months and further order that you perform 120 hours of unpaid community work.”

Voice over:

Sentencing is complex; there’s a lot to take into account. Would you like to take on another case?

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