LZS, our client, was a tradesman with a complex history of heroin and methamphetamine use. His longstanding drug addiction was reflected in an 18-year criminal history that included stealing and fraud offences. LZS had experienced multiple drug relapses and had unsuccessfully attempted rehabilitation programs through the NSW Drug Court. In periods of abstinence, LZS was described as a strong, honest and supportive member of the community.
On a Saturday lunchtime in March 2018, someone called police to investigate a concern for the welfare of LZS and his friend, who were found unconscious in a car parked in Chippendale, in Sydney’s inner city.
Upon arrival, the police woke LZS, and proceeded to search the vehicle on suspicion that he was in possession of illegal drugs. During the search, they discovered a bag containing stolen mail, including credit cards and identity documents.
LZS informed the officers that the bag belonged to his housemate and that he had used it to transport dirty laundry, and was unaware of the stolen mail. Notwithstanding, police arrested and charged LZS with unlawful possession of property. At the time, LZS was on parole for a separate offence.
Over the coming five months, LZS would be arrested twice more before being granted bail to attend The Buttery, a rehab facility in Byron Bay.
While at The Buttery, LZS made remarkable progress in six months, attesting that he had “achieved more now than in the past 10 years”. He became completely abstinent from all drugs and alcohol, and engaged in therapeutic programs designed to prevent relapse. Community Corrections assessed that LZS had achieved insight into his offending behaviour, as well as considerable remorse for his past criminal actions.
In the interim, LZS received a grant of Legal Aid. He retained O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors to appear on his behalf at his hearing in June 2018, as well as for any subsequent sentencing.
In June, LZS was convicted of the charged offences. The task now was to obtain a successful sentencing outcome that allowed LZS to continue his encouraging rehabilitation work at The Buttery, as opposed to being incarcerated in prison.
Intensive Correction Orders (ICOs) mean sentence can be served in community
In February 2019, LZS appeared at the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney’s CBD. In line with submissions from O’Brien Solicitors, he was sentenced to a combination of Intensive Correction Orders, to be served concurrently for a period of 6 months. Several of LZS’s convictions were disposed of by the Court without further penalty.
In certain circumstances, the Court may sentence an offender to an Intensive Correction Order (ICO). ICOs are “community-based” sentencing orders, in the sense that they are served in the community. Although ICOs are non-incarceration sentences (ie. do not involve time spent in jail), the Court considers them a form of imprisonment. Individuals subject to ICOs are under intensive supervision by Community Corrections, yet have significantly more access to rehabilitation programs than they would if in jail. In this way, ICOs assist in addressing recidivism in cases where complex issues underly criminal behaviour.
Here, the sentencing outcome of ICOs enabled LZS to continue his drug rehabilitation in The Buttery. His hitherto successful community-based rehabilitation could continue.
- unlawfully obtained goods;
- s 527C(1)(a);
- history of drug addiction and abuse;
- drug rehabilitation;
- intensive correction order;
- community-based sentencing alternatives.
O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors are able to pursue your possible claim anywhere in Australia. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today on 02 9261 4281 or by email at