It was reported recently that an off-duty police officer has been charged with possessing cocaine at Sydney’s Star Casino

The Police who were working in the area and were conducting a drug dog operation at the casino about 9.30pm when they spoke to a 32-year-old man.

The man was a senior constable attached to the State Crime Command. He was allegedly found to be in possession of a “small amount” of cocaine, a police statement said.

A NSW Police spokesperson said the off-duty officer had since been suspended and stood down, with final decisions about the incident expected to be made in the coming days.

Police standards of professional conduct say employees “must comply with the law whether on or off duty”.

“In the event that you are charged with a criminal offence you are required to report the matter to your commander,” the standards say. “Serious misconduct can lead to transfer, loss of income or removal from NSW Police.”

The man was issued a Future Court Attendance Notice for possessing a prohibited drug and will appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday, October 23.


Possession is one of the most common drug offences. Possession means having a drug on you or in a house or property you occupy. You can be charged with possession of drugs if drugs are found in a car you own, or you are driving.


An offence of possess prohibited Drug is an offence which is to be dealt with in the Local Court.

The nature and mental element of possession were considered in the case of He Kaw The v R (1985) 157 CLR 523 which states it is for the Crown to prove the accused knew of the existence of the drug in his physical custody or control.


The offence of possessing a prohibited drug is contained in Section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) which states that:

“A person who has a prohibited drug in his or her possession is guilty of an offence”.


Since possess a prohibited drug is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.

The prosecution must prove the Accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of possess prohibited drug.

To establish possession, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You had a prohibited drug in your possession; and
  • You knew it was in your possession, or you knew of its likely existence and nature; or
  • You believed that it was a drug.


National Criminal Lawyers (NCL) have been successful in defending a number of possess prohibited drug charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements of the offence. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for possess prohibited drug charges.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with possess prohibited drug.

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

To read more about this offence, click on this link.

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