Under the criminal law, possession of a ‘trafficable’ quality of a drug, which may be little more than a small amount of a drug, will enliven deeming provisions rendering the possession “supply” in the eyes of the law, an offence carrying several years imprisonment.

But what of a circumstance where a person is holding the drugs with the intention of returning them to the real owner. This can be argued in a number of different circumstances, most commonly holding drugs for “safe-keeping” or temporarily “looking after” drugs.

It can be, and often is the case in fact, that circumstances arise leading to a person receiving and holding drugs and with the sole intention of returning them to the true owner. What if, for example, a young person, albeit foolishly, agreed to hold his older brother’s rather significant cannabis stash while that older brother was absent from the home they shared?

Possession is these circumstances may not amount to supply and one may have a defence based on principles set out in a NSW Criminal Court of Appeal case of Carey.

This article underlines the importance in obtaining prompt and reliable legal advice in all criminal matters relating to supply of drugs