Our experienced criminal law solicitors have prepared a brief overview of the law relating to permitting use of place.
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Permitting Use of Place – The Law
Section 11 of the Drugs Missuse Act 1986 creates the offence of permitting use of place. The section provides:
A person who, being the occupier or concerned in the management or control of a place, permits the place to be used for the commission of a crime defined in this part is guilty of a crime.
Elements of the offence
To be found guilty of the offence of permitting the use of a place the prosecution is required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following elements:
- That the accused was the occupier or concerned in the management or control of a place;
- That the accused permitted the use of the place
- That an offence against the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 occurred.
Occupier or concerned in the management or control
The prosecution must prove that the accused was was the occupier or concerned in the management or control of a place. Case law establishes that the person concerned must at least be making use of the place with sufficient defacto control or management of it to facilitate that use. A person is not an occupier of premises where their only connection with the premises was the presence of some of the person’s belongings.
Mere ownership of a place also does not constitute being “concerned in the management or control” of the place. The prosecution is required to prove some interest in, or personal involvement in the control or management of the place on the part of the accused.
The case law indicates that generally there has to be some overt act to establish permission. Mere inactivity by a person seeing what others are doing may not be sufficient to establish permission. Specific activity is not required where the person knows what another is doing, has the capability of preventing it and stands by while the act is done.
The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years imprisonment.
Jurisdiction – Where will the matter be heard?
Pursuant to section 13 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 this offence is to be heard and determined in the Magistrate Court.
Conviction – Does a conviction have to be recorded?
The sentencing Court has a discretion whether or not to record a conviction against you for the offence of permitting use of premises. Generally a conviction would be recorded for this type of offence, although one is not inevitable.
The relevant factors are set out in section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992. If you are concerned about a conviction being recorded you should seek legal advice.
For legal advice specific to your matter, you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.