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Not Guilty verdict for Importing a Border Controlled Drug

Rian represented a client in the Bundaberg Supreme Court who had been charged with importing 276kgs of cocaine. Since the client was from overseas, she was remanded in custody when she was first charged. By the time the trial had commenced, the client had spent almost two years in custody on remand.​

It was alleged that Rian’s client had smuggled the cocaine into Australia in the hull of the yacht that she and her partner sailed to Bundaberg from Vanuatu. The evidence against the client included lengthy surveillance of the client and the co-accused both in Bundaberg and in Vanuatu.

Given the language barrier, an interpreter was arranged and after spending four full days in the Bundaberg watch-house with the interpreter and the client, detailed instructions were finalised. The client maintained that she had no knowledge that the cocaine was in the yacht’s hull despite the fact that her three co-accused all pleaded guilty to the same charge.

After a two week trial before the Bundaberg Supreme Court, the client was found not guilty.

As her immigration status was uncertain, she was unable to be released from custody immediately so Rian and Counsel waited with the client at the Bundaberg watch-house in order to secure the client’s release. After conducting lengthy negotiations with the Department of Immigration the client was finally released from custody at 10:30pm and she was able to fly home three days later.

The thorough preparation that Rian put into this matter, including the four full days in the watch-house meant the difference between the client being found guilty (and spending considerable time in jail), and being free to go home to her family.


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