Possession in Commonwealth Law
To establish possession of a thing, it must be established that a person:
- received or obtained possession of the thing; or
- had control over the disposition of the thing (whether or not the thing is in the custody of the person); or
- had joint possession of the thing.
It is a possible defence to possession to establish mistake of fact. This would have been the defence in the second Bridget Jones’ Diary movie where Bridget was unaware that the snake object in her luggage actually contained heroin.
There are four possession offences under the Criminal Code:
- Possessing controlled drugs (s308.1)
- Possessing controlled precursors (s308.2)
- Possessing plant material, equipment or instructions for commercial cultivation of controlled plants (s308.3)
- Possessing substance, equipment or instructions for commercial manufacture of controlled drugs (s308.4)
Possession of controlled drugs and precursors carry a penalty of up to 2 years imprisonment and/or 400 penalty units. However, possessing equipment or instructions for commercial cultivation or manufacture carries penalties of up to 7 years imprisonment and/or 1,400 penalty units.