Criminal Law

Supply Drugs on Ongoing Basis

Supplying a prohibited drug on an ongoing basis is a serious drug offence. The offence (known as "Ongoing Supply") targets not only those involved in drug distribution at the higher levels, but "street dealers" as well, who are often more likely to be charged with this offence. The preconditions that need to be present to make out the offence of supply prohibited drug on an ongoing basis can be easily met, which places low level drug dealers at risk of being charged with this more serious form of "drug supply".

The Law

Pursuant to section 25A of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, a person who, on 3 or more separate occasions during any period of 30 consecutive days, supplies a prohibited drug (other than cannabis) for financial or material reward is guilty of the offence of ongoing supply.

Penalties

The maximum penalty for the offence of supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis is $385,000 and/or 20 years' imprisonment or both.

Commentary

Court statistics show that a conviction for supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis will result in more severe penalties than a standard drug supply charge (if the amount is below the commercial quantity for the drug supply charge). Nearly all people convicted of supplying on an ongoing basis receive a form of imprisonment and the overwhelming majority of those convicted receive full time gaol.

All it takes is for someone to have sold a small quantity, on 3 separate occasions over a 30 day period, to have committed this serious supply offence and facing the prospect of a full time prison sentence. The drug also does not necessarily need to be the same prohibited drug on each occasion.


If the charge is being defended and the trial heard before a jury, the jury must be satisfied as to the same 3 occasions of supply: all jurors must agree on the same 3 occasions and that a supply (for money) occurred and did not fall under any other category or fall short of the offence of supply.
If the jury is not satisfied of the occurrence of a supply on an ongoing basis but is satisfied that the offence of supply has been committed previously, the accused can be found guilty of a standard supply offence.

Importantly, a person who has been convicted of an offence under this section is not liable to be convicted of a relevant supply offence or a separate offence under this section, using the same facts as were used to convict the person under this section.  in other words, if a person is found guilty of this offence, they cannot also be found guilty of three separate supply offences for the same instances of supply that make up the ongoing supply charge.

As the prosecution needs to rely on 3 or more separate charges of supply, given the right circumstances, it can be possible to negotiate a successful "downgrading" of the overall more serious charge to one or more lesser supply charges.

If you have been charged with supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis ("ongoing supply"), our experts at Prime Lawyers - Criminal Law Division can help. Contact us to make an appointment with a criminal lawyer at your nearest Prime Lawyers office.

We have offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Chatswood, Sutherland and Wollongong.

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