A more recent version of these Drug Offences notes – written by Cambridge/Bpp/College Of Law students – is available here.
The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Criminal Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:
Criminal: Drug Offences
- Misuse of Drugs Act 1971: to regulate possession, production, importation and supply of controlled drugs.
- Controlled drugs. s2 MDA 1971: incorporates Schedule 2. Schedule 2 MDA 1971: specif ies controlled drugs + classif ies: affects max. sentence for offences. Class A: e.g. cocaine, ecstasy, opium, heroin, 'magic mushrooms'. Class B: e.g. amphetamine, cannabis, cannabis resin, codeine. Class C: e.g. valium, GHB, ketamine. R v Courtie : 3 crimes for each offence under MDA - one for each class.
- Modes of trial + punishment. s25 MDA 1971: incorporates Schedule 4. Schedule 4 MDA 1971: indication of which court offence should be tried in + maximum penalty for each offence (dep. on class of drug).
Offences relating to Possession - s5 MDA 1971.
s5(2): possession of a controlled drug (simple possession) s5(3): possession with intent to supply s5(4): specific defences
Possession of controlled drug - s5(2) maximum sentence: Class A - 7 years; Class B - 5 years; Class C - 2 years.
- Actus Reus: possession of controlled drug with lack of authorisation. possession: physical possession, custody or control. physical control: Warner v MPC , confirmed in R v Boyesen . inc. anything subject to d's control in custody of another: s37(3). visible, tangible + quantifiable amount (even if too little to use): R v Boyesen. joint possession possible: R v Bland  - d. must have knowledge + some control (but: mere presence + knowledge without encouragement/control insufficient). lack of authorisation: s7 + regulations under s7 - burden of proof on defendant. authorisation of certain drugs. authorisation of drugs in certain circumstances: e.g. police after seizing. authorisation of certain people to possess certain drugs: e.g. doctors, vets etc.
- Mens Rea: knowledge of possession. (not specif ied in Act: originally thought to be offence of absolute liability). knowledge of possession of item, NOT nature of item: Warner v MPC confirmed by R v Boyesen. can be imputed: e.g. Warner v MPC: d. picked up package containing drugs thinking it contained perfume ? deemed to have knowledge: should have checked. mistake as to type of drug irrelevant: e.g. Searle v Randolph : d. picked up cigarette ends not realising they contained some cannabis ? deemed to be in possession of cannabis. BUT mistaking drug for completely different substance: defence under s28. e.g. R v McNamara : belief that box contained porn videos, not cannabis.
Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our GDL Criminal Law Notes.