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  • Unreported Judgment

R v Adamovics

 

[2006] QCA 77

 

SUPREME COURT OF QUEENSLAND

 

CITATION:

R v Adamovics [2006] QCA 077

PARTIES:

R
v
ADAMOVICS, Debra Faye
(applicant)

FILE NO/S:

CA No 306 of 2005
SC No 942 of 2005

DIVISION:

Court of Appeal

PROCEEDING:

Sentence Application

ORIGINATING COURT:

Supreme Court at Brisbane

DELIVERED EX
TEMPORE ON:


20 March 2006

DELIVERED AT:

Brisbane

HEARING DATE:

20 March 2006

JUDGES:

Williams and Keane JJA and Douglas J
Separate reasons for judgment of each member of the Court, each concurring as to the orders made

ORDER:

1.  Application for leave to appeal against sentence refused

CATCHWORDS:

CRIMINAL LAW - APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL AND INQUIRY AFTER CONVICTION - APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL - APPEAL AGAINST SENTENCE - APPEAL BY CONVICTED PERSONS - APPLICATIONS TO REDUCE SENTENCE - where the applicant pleaded guilty to the production and possession of methylamphetamine and was sentenced to an effective term of three and a half years imprisonment – this offence was in breach of a suspended sentence of 18 months imprisonment wholly suspended with an operational period of four years, imposed for similar offences – where the applicant contends that insufficient weight was given to her co-operation with authorities, her subsequent rehabilitation and the ill health of her parents as factors justifying an earlier eligibility for post-prison community based release – whether the sentence was manifestly excessive in all the circumstances

R v Jeffs [2005] QCA 35; CA No 422 of 2004, 25 February 2005, considered

COUNSEL:

D F Adamovics (self-represented) for the applicant
R G Martin SC for the respondent

SOLICITORS:

Director of Public Prosecutions (Queensland) for the respondent

WILLIAMS JA:  After pleading guilty on 3 November 2005 to production of methylamphetamine, possession of methylamphetamine and possession of scales, the applicant was sentenced to an effective term of three and a-half years' imprisonment.

 

At the same time the learned sentencing Judge dealt with the breach of a suspended sentence imposed on 18 May 2004.  On that occasion the applicant had pleaded guilty to production of methylamphetamine and possession of methylamphetamine and had been sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment wholly suspended for an operational period of four years.

 

On 3 November 2005 the sentencing Judge ordered that the whole of the 18 month term be served concurrently with the other sentence of three and a-half years' imprisonment.  The applicant contends that in all the circumstances the sentence imposed on 3 November 2005 was manifestly excessive.

 

The offences dealt with on 18 May 2004 resulted from a police raid on the applicant's premises on 24 December 2002.  A small quantity of methylamphetamine was located as well as some other drug paraphernalia.  Material placed before the Court with respect to those offences established that the applicant had been dealing in Sudafed with a view to it being used for the production of methylamphetamine and in his sentencing remarks on that occasion, the Chief Justice noted that there was a “commercial motivation” and that the applicant was making “good money”.

 

As the sentencing remarks reveal, leniency was extended to the applicant notwithstanding the need for deterrence.  As the Chief Justice said, "I am going to give you a final chance in the criminal justice system of avoiding actual incarceration."  It should be noted that prior to being sentenced on that occasion the applicant had not been sentenced to a period of imprisonment.  The criminal history to that time revealed convictions for minor drug and dishonesty offences.

 

Material placed before the Chief Justice when sentencing the applicant on 3 November 2005 established that the applicant had been carrying on her drug related activities for a period of four to five months preceding the sentence on 18 May 2004.  The Chief Justice noted, "I now find out that, in fact, on that very day you went out and did the same thing."  He regarded that conduct as "obviously just flagrant disregard for the treatment you had been given on the 18th of May 2004 and there was absolutely no reason why the Court should not now require you to serve the 18 months imposed."

 

With regard to the subsequent offences the learned Chief Justice referred to R v Jeffs [2005] QCA 35 and indicated that a sentence of up to four years' imprisonment would be within range.  He then took into account 128 days spent in custody on remand and also the fact that the applicant had cooperated with authorities.  He said that those circumstances were taken into account in reducing the head sentence further, and not making the terms of imprisonment cumulative.  It was against that background that the sentences under attack were imposed.

 

The applicant appeared on her own behalf and placed submissions in writing before the Court.  She contended that other people, some higher up in the chain of methylamphetamine production, had received lesser sentences than her.  She asserted that insufficient consideration was given by the Chief Justice to her cooperation with authorities and contended that the Chief Justice was "overly heavy handed in sentencing me because it was he himself who had previously given me a suspended sentence".

 

She also submitted that insufficient weight was given to the fact that she contended that she had "turned her life around and was drug free, earning an honest income and living a normal life".  She also submitted that the four months served on remand had not properly been taken into account.  It is clear that the 128 days presentence custody was taken into account in determining the head sentence but the applicant's final submission is that effectively she will have to serve 25 months in custody before being eligible to apply for parole.

 

Finally, the applicant raises the age and ill health of her parents as a factor justifying fixing an early eligibility date for post-prison community based release.  The conduct of the applicant in reoffending on the very day leniency was extended to her by the Court with respect to the earlier offences demonstrates such a disregard for the law that any Judge would be loath to extend leniency again.  That does not mean that a higher sentence than justifiable could be imposed but it does mean that there is little or no basis for again extending leniency.

 

The continued involvement in the production of methylamphetamine after the first conviction was recorded clearly justifies the sentence of three and a-half years imprisonment.  As the Chief Justice noted it is often the case where a suspended sentence is activated that the serving of the balance is made cumulative upon the sentence imposed for the new offences.  That was not done here and the Chief Justice regarded that as another instance of extending some leniency to the applicant.

 

Given the applicant's response to the suspended sentence it was clearly appropriate for the sentencing Judge on the later occasion to leave the question of post-prison community based release to the appropriate authorities.  As already noted the fact is that she will have to serve some 25 months before becoming eligible to apply for post-prison community based release but in all the circumstances that is not inappropriate when one considers that the head sentence of three and a-half years is towards the lower end of the range and that sentence was not made cumulative on activation of the earlier suspended sentence.

 

In all the circumstances I am not persuaded that the sentence was manifestly excessive.  The application for leave to appeal against sentence should be refused.

 

KEANE JA:  I agree.

 

DOUGLAS J:  I agree.

 

WILLIAMS JA:  Well, the order is that the application for leave to appeal against sentence is dismissed.

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Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    R v Adamovics

  • Shortened Case Name:

    R v Adamovics

  • MNC:

    [2006] QCA 77

  • Court:

    QCA

  • Judge(s):

    Williams JA, Keane JA, Douglas J

  • Date:

    20 Mar 2006

Litigation History

No Litigation History

Appeal Status

No Status