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Misuse of Drugs 

Misuse of Drugs
Misuse of Drugs

Paul Connor

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Subscriber: null; date: 15 August 2018

8.1 Introduction

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 seems to be under constant review but it is still the mainstay of legislation regulating drugs offences. Although the abuse and illegal distribution of controlled drugs create crimes in their own right, you will be aware of the effect that drug-related crime has on society in general. This section of the Workbook concentrates on several of the main offences as well as basic terms and defences available under the Act.

8.2 Aim

The aim of this section is to explain some of the offences and defences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

8.3 Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:

  1. 1. State the meaning of the term ‘possession’.

  2. 2. Identify the points to prove for the offence of possession of a controlled drug contrary to s. 5(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

  3. 3. Identify the points to prove for the offence of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug contrary to s. 5(3) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

  4. 4. Identify when an offence of supplying a controlled drug contrary to s. 4(3) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 has been committed.

  5. 5. Outline the defences available under s. 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

  6. 6. Outline the defences available under s. 28 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

  7. 7. Apply your knowledge to multiple-choice questions.

8.4 Possession

8.4.1 Exercise—Possession or Not?

Examine the following scenarios and provide an answer based on whether the named person has ‘possession’ or not. Do not concern yourself as to whether an offence has been committed. Think about ‘possession’ alone.

  1. 1. WHITE is a drug dealer who keeps a large quantity of cannabis hidden under his bed at his home address. WHITE is out of his house and dealing in drugs when he is arrested.

    • When WHITE is arrested, does he have possession of the cannabis hidden under his bed?

    • Yes / No

  2. 2. THORLEY approaches a drug dealer and asks to buy some heroin. The dealer tells THORLEY that he has some heroin in his car parked 100 metres away. THORLEY gives the dealer £100 and asks him to go to his car and get the drug.

    • Does THORLEY have possession of the heroin when the cash exchanges hands?

    • Yes / No

  3. 3. SHENTON has arranged for his drug dealer to send him 50 LSD tablets through the post. SHENTON leaves his house to go to work and, 30 minutes later, a postal worker puts the letter containing the drugs through SHENTON’s front door letterbox.

    • Would SHENTON be in possession of the LSD tablets once they had been posted through his front door?

    • Yes / No

  4. 4. PULCELLA lives in a block of flats. The front door of his flat is insecure and, without PULCELLA’s knowledge, his neighbour (who is a drug dealer) hides several hundred Ecstasy tablets inside a settee in PULCELLA’s living room.

    • Does PULCELLA have possession of the Ecstasy tablets once the drug dealer has hidden them inside his settee?

    • Yes / No

  5. 5. LARTER has been suffering from headaches in the afternoon. He picks up several aspirins from a flatmate’s bedside table and goes to work. The tablets are in fact Ecstasy tablets.

    • When LARTER picks up the Ecstasy tablets thinking they are aspirin, does he possess the Ecstasy?

    • Yes / No

  6. 6. JILBERT is a delivery driver. He parks outside an address and removes a parcel with the words ‘Fragile—Contains Glass’ printed on it, to deliver to the address. The parcel actually contains a large amount of cannabis resin.

    • When JILBERT delivers the parcel, does he have possession of the cannabis resin?

    • Yes / No

  7. 7. FERGUSON owns a flat where she and her boyfriend live. FERGUSON’s boyfriend has a friend who is a drug dealer. The drug dealer visits the flat regularly and uses cannabis while he is there. FERGUSON realises that the drug dealer is highly likely to bring drugs into her house. The police raid the flat and find some cannabis in a drawer in the kitchen. There is no proof that the cannabis actually belongs to FERGUSON.

    • Does FERGUSON possess the cannabis in these circumstances?

    • Yes / No