Re-evaluating Sentencing in Drug Offences: Insights from Daher v R  NSWCCA 287 on Objective Seriousness and Conditional Liberty
- January 9, 2024
- 3 minute read
“Daher v R  NSWCCA 287” is a pivotal case in the realm of criminal law and drug offences, particularly focusing on the appeal against sentencing. This article seeks to analyse the key elements of the case, shedding light on the appellate decision and its legal ramifications.
Background and Key Drug Offences
Elle Louie Daher, the appellant, was initially sentenced for three counts under sections 25(1) and 25A(1) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) and section 16(1) of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW). These charges pertained to the supply of prohibited drugs, including cocaine, over a period.
The appeal was adjudicated within the framework of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) and the Criminal Appeal Act 1912 (NSW). The case also referenced various precedents, highlighting the complexity of assessing the objective seriousness in drug supply offences.
Assessment of Objective Seriousness
The primary issue in the appeal was whether the sentencing judge had adequately assessed the objective seriousness of Daher’s offending. The appellant contested the initial judgement, arguing that the judge failed to properly consider the quantity of drugs involved, which significantly impacts the assessment of a drug supply Offence’s gravity.
Treatment of Conditional Liberty
Another aspect of the appeal focused on the treatment of conditional liberty as a subjective factor. The appellant argued that the sentencing judge erroneously increased his moral culpability by considering his offences committed while on conditional liberty.
Manifest Excessiveness of the Sentence
The appellant also contended that the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive, necessitating a reassessment.
The Court of Criminal Appeal, considering the arguments, held:
On Objective Seriousness:
The appellate court agreed with the appellant, noting the sentencing judge’s failure to explicitly consider the quantity of drugs involved, which is vital in determining the objective seriousness of drug supply offences.
On Conditional Liberty:
The court found that the sentencing judge’s approach to conditional liberty was appropriate and did not constitute an error.
On Excessive Sentence:
The court decided it was unnecessary to separately address this issue due to the conclusions on objective seriousness.
Consequently, the appeal was allowed, leading to the quashing of the original sentence and its substitution with an aggregate head sentence of 4 years and 6 months imprisonment with an aggregate non-parole period of 2 years and 9 months.
“Daher v R  NSWCCA 287” serves as an essential precedent in criminal law, especially in relation to sentencing for drug supply offences. The case highlights the criticality of a detailed and appropriate assessment of the objective seriousness of offences, emphasising the need for judicial rigor in considering all relevant factors, including the quantity of drugs involved. This judgement reaffirms the principles of fair and just sentencing, ensuring that the punishment imposed aligns accurately with the gravity of the offence.
Seeking Legal Assistance in Similar Cases
Individuals facing similar legal challenges should seek expert legal advice to navigate the complexities of their cases. In matters of criminal charges and appeals, proficient legal counsel, such as the representation seen in this case, is vital to ensure a fair and accurate assessment of the case, considering all legal nuances and precedents. Legal representation can significantly impact the outcome, ensuring that the rights of the accused are upheld and the principles of justice are adhered to.