Weekly Snapshot Issue: 26: 3 May 2019

Case we are discussing…

Veering away from our typical areas of law, this week we have opted to review a recent Criminal Law case. 

In Cashel v R [2018]the court considered the follow question: How far do you have to go before you can be found guilty of manufacturing a drug?

The Criminal Court of Appeal has determined that, in order to be convicted of manufacturing a prohibited drug a person must have actually produced the drug. 

The applicant was one of a group of people connected to an enterprise producing commercial quantities of methyl amphetamine. 

The offender ultimately received a total sentence of nine years five months with non- parole period of six years and eight months. He appealed. 

Initially he appealed only against the sentence on various bases, but ultimately he also appealed against his conviction in relation to the manufacture prohibited drug charge, with his Counsel arguing : “In short it was said that this Court would conclude that the facts showed that the applicant first, manufactured an “indictable” quantity of methylamphetamine, namely 12.7 grams; secondly, manufactured an indictable quantity of pseudoephedrine, namely 272 grams; and thirdly, knowingly took part in the manufacture of a commercial quantity of methylamphetamine; namely 332.7 grams. Nevertheless, he submitted, there was simply no evidentiary basis upon which one could say that the applicant actually manufactured a commercial quantity of methylamphetamine. It was on that basis that he submitted that the conviction for that offence should be quashed, and that a substituted verdict should be entered”.[Button J at 68]. 

The primary basis for that submission, therefore, was that whilst it was clear that they were on their way to making prohibited drugs, the evidence did not establish that it had actually been made. 

The CCA acknowledged that it was contestable whether ‘manufacture’ as defined by s 6 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1986 requires the drug actually to have been produced. However, ultimately it determined that the drug does have to have been actually produced in order to be guilty of the offence.

Button J set out eleven reasons in support of that conclusion, the most important was that both manufacturing, and taking part in the manufacture of a prohibited drug, are to be found within the same offence provision, and carry the same maximum penalty. 

In conclusion, although the Applicant was successful in his appeal it didn’t mean much because he triumphed in having the charge changed but the same sentence was imposed. 

Speech to inspire…

Failure is something the majority of us fear. We are afraid of facing who we are when we have failed and often this means that we limit our own growth by remaining in our comfort zones. 

Remaining in our comfort zones, however then results in us feeling inadequate and bitter about the opportunities that we have rejected or not pursued. This cycle of fear means that we remain where we are for the majority of our lives and even though we work and function there is that niggling voice that often reminds us that we have sabotaged our own efforts and therefore are never truly fulfilled. 

What helps us to overcome this sense of failure is to seek knowledge and motivation from inspirational figures who are vulnerable and authentic about the struggles they faced on their journey to reach their full potential and the debilitating effect of succumbing to failure rather than embracing it. 

In 2008, JK Rowling delivered the commencement speech at Harvard University and tackled the question ‘How can we embrace failure?

‘You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default’.

We hope it inspires you like it did us. 

Podcast we’re enjoying …

“How to Fail with Elizabeth Day” is seriously entertaining and insightful fodder for you podcast lovers. It pretty much celebrates f*** ups’ and through interviews with interesting people reveals how much can be learnt from failures. An episode we particularly enjoyed was with Mo Gawdat – an entrepreneur and former Chief Business Officer for Google X. He talks about tackling his demons after his son died, aged 21 and how it led him to write a book about the algorithm for happiness: 

“Happiness is equal to the events of your life minus your expectation of how life should be”

Does this mean we should just lower our expectations? Not necessarily, but rather learn to be realistic and separate your inner wisdom from that nagging useless Debbie Downer voice in your brain. 

In the episode, he also talks about the Wests’ obsession with Descartes’ mantra “I think, therefore I am”. Gawdat emphasises that the voice in our brain that we associate with thinking is simply an organ that we have been conditioned to follow and listen to…accordingly, would one associate with their liver? Or their Bladder? “I urinate; therefore, I am”?… these are all organs and functions of our body; yet we do not necessarily identify with them as we do with our brain; which is often conditioned to hold us back from experiencing freedom and happiness. 

Interesting word…

You know those people who can babble on and on about things only interesting to them? Whether it be their newborn baby’s poop, the Family Law Act, deadlifting techniques, their macronutrient ratios or their views about Arsenal/Liverpool/Manchester United…

 Well, there is a perfect term to describe those annoying buggers… “Loquacious”. 

Viral video we’re enjoying…

There are various methods to teaching of course… but we have to admit; few are as entertaining as the technique employed by Sackey Percy, a creative arts teacher at Obo Kwahu in Ghana’s Eastern region.

The young vibrant teacher has taken to dancing with his students to loosen them up, build their confidence and forge a trusting relationship with his pupils. He notes that “after implementing the dance, they free to ask me whatever is bothering them”. Watch them all in action here: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-47751266/ghanaian-teacher-dancing-makes-students-relate-to-me.

We can only hope that some of our Aussie teachers pick up this insightful technique!

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