R v de Lautour [2020] NZDC 7119

Published 08 June 2020

Sentencing — drug offending — possession for supply — methamphetamine — meth — unlawful sale of tobacco — Customs and Excise Act 2018 — Sentencing Act 2002, subs 8(c) & (d) — Zhang v R [2019] NZCA 507. The defendant appeared for sentence, having pleaded guilty to possession and supply of methamphetamine and unlawful sale of tobacco. On a police search of the defendant's property they had found just over an ounce (28.5 grams) of meth, and the defendant claimed he had this amount for personal use and to share amongst his friends at his upcoming birthday party. The amount he intended to supply to his friends was around 2-3 grams, meaning the offending fell within band 1 of the sentencing guideline case of Zhang v R, rather than the more serious band 2 if 28.5 gram figure was taken. The Judge considered a starting point of 12 months' imprisonment for the methamphetamine offending was appropriate. In terms of the unlawful sale of tobacco, the Customs and Excise Act 2018 stipulated a maximum penalty of 6 months' imprisonment and no sentencing guideline cases for this type of offending could be found; however, the Judge considered the offending to be at the more serious end. The offending had occurred over a course of 4 years with a total of 600kg of tobacco sold. The Judge considered the maximum penalty was appropriate, bringing the overall starting point to 18 months' imprisonment. No reductions were given on a totality basis, as the overall starting point was not out of proportion with the gravity of the offending, and none for drug addiction as the defendant's use was not causative of the offending and he had denied he was addicted at the pre-sentence report stage. A discount of eight months was given for time spent on EM bail, and a 15 percent discount for early guilty pleas, bringing the sentence down to one of eight and a half months' imprisonment. This was commuted to a final sentence of 2 and a half months' home detention, taking into account time spent remanded in custody. The Judge also made an order for the destruction of the methamphetamine and tobacco seized, and noted that a proceeding was underway in the High Court for the forfeiture of the cash. Judgment Date: 29 April 2020.