Drug Smuggling Case Study

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Drug smuggling is an offence when an individual transports drugs from one country to another. A man named Olaf Dietrich smuggled at least 70 grams of Heroin packed in condoms which he had swallowed. On the 17th of December 1986, Dietrich flew into Melbourne airport from Thailand and got arrested by the Australian federal police the next morning, when the police found one of the condoms in the kitchen, and some heroin in a plastic bag under a rug in another room. Dietrich went to the high court arguing that his rights have been infringed when being trialled for the drug related offences. The right to have a fair trial was infringed by the county court due to Dietrich not having any legal representation, or any legal aid while he was trialled …show more content…
He was then arrested by the Australian federal police for importing at least 70 grams of Heroin packed in condoms which he had swallowed. He was then tried in the Victorian County Court on three counts, one of which was importing a trafficable quantity of heroin into Australia from Thailand. The trial lasted approximately 40 days during the time he had to represent himself after trying all attempts at attaining legal representation. Dietrich had applied to the Legal Aid Commission of Victoria, who rejected his claim because he was not willing to plead guilty to the charges. Since Dietrich was opposed to changing his plea from not guilty, he also applied to the Supreme Court of Victoria for assistance, but his application was denied as he had failed to make an application within the necessary time. The County Court trial judge followed previous practice and forced Dietrich to go to trial without representation. Dietrich was acquitted on two of his charges, and was found guilty on the importation charge. He then wanted to appeal to the Supreme Court but was denied; thus he took his case to the High Court. Dietrich argued that an indigent (poor) accused who wished to be represented, was entitled to have counsel provided at public expense when being tried on any indictable offence that may result in their imprisonment. He also argued that without representation, the accused would not have a fair …show more content…
The high court should stop forcing indigent accused to face trial without legal representation instantly. This practice abused the right of the accused be trialled fairly. Australia recognises the right to not receive an unfair trial and, depending on the circumstances, if an accused remains unrepresented, the accused would not, or would not receive a fair trial. Although there is no right in the Australian law for disadvantaged offenders to be provided counsel at the public’s expense. It was found that the trial judge made a mistake in not adjourning the case to enable him to attempt to get representation. The trial judge then ensured that his trial wasn’t fair. Dietrich was given leave to appeal to have his case which could have been heard again in Victoria, although since he had already served his full sentence, the re-trial never proceeded and he was set free. Chief Justice Mason and Justice McHugh reached the following

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