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May 03, 2023

Answer: 

Issues

  1. Whether Dietrich is liable for the drugs trafficking according to the provisions of the Customs Act?
  2. Whether Dietrich has a fair legal trial for defending himself being involved in a serious offence?
  3. Whether Dietrich will directly be referred to as accused without the involvement of legal representation?

Rule

Section 233 b (1)(b) of the Customs Act 1901 states about the smuggling as well as unlawful importation along with exportation[1]. In the provisions it is stated that a person should not import as well as export such goods that are prohibited, a person should not be liable for smuggling of such goods. A person should not in an unlawful manner have possession of any smuggling goods. Section (1AA) states that if a person involves in any action prescribed above then the person will be punishable under such offence and such kind of offence involves a person under strict liability. The Act states that strict liability is mentioned in Section 6.1 of the Criminal Code[2]. It involves the person who does not have any reasonable excuse with respect to the smuggling of prohibited goods.

The South Australian Criminal Law (Legal Representation) Act 2002 states that give permission to the court for seizing the assets of the defendant for preventing the false claims prescribed in the Dietrich principle. Section 69(3) of the Judiciary Act 1903[3] describes legal aid, as well as an application, which was also filed under such section. In the instance of Powell v Alabama (1932)[4] which is considered a landmark in the US where the decision was reversed by the court and held that counsel must be provided to defendants that are under capital trials. There is the involvement of capital punishment and legal representation is to be provided when the defendant is poor and not able to afford it for themselves. Also, in Gideon v Wainwright (1963)[5], the fourteenth amendment was made by the court that establish the right of people to get counsel during criminal investigations.

Application

In Australia, there is a customary provision regarding forcing a person that does not have the capability to afford the legal aid for the court trial to make them defend in the court. The case involves a serious crime where Dietrich was charged with an offence that involves four counts. Where the basic and first three counts are related to importation or it can be said that he has possession of the goods namely heroin in large quantity. The fourth charge against him was regarding possession of a separate quantity of heroin. Dietrich has claimed that heroin does not belong to him and the police are trying to make him an offender. Dietrich was charged and was triable in the Country Court regarding the trafficking offence.

He has made a request regarding legal representation to the Legal Aid Commission and also, and he make an application to the Supreme Court but his application was dismissed. Due to this he got no legal representation for the trial in court and he was facing several problems for his own defence. Two courts have made an allegation against them for importation while in the third as well as final no importation charges were marked against him. Also, no guilty was pleaded by Dietrich but the jury has found them guilty of an offence that was in violation of the Customs Act 1901. Later he got sentenced with respect to seven years of imprisonment due to which he has made an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal. Such court has refused in hearing the appeal filed by him due to which he has obtained special leave with respect to the High Court.

In the High Court, he was legally represented by David Grace. Dietrich has argued in the court that he was in need of counsel through the involvement of public expense as he was convicted of a serious crime. Also, judges from the previous court should have stayed the proceedings of the trial so that he gets the opportunity to obtain counsel for himself. There is the involvement of common law tradition as every person is liable to get a fair trial as it is considered right. Several sources of law were suggested by Dietrich that are countable under the right of counsel, the first involves Section 397 of the Victorian Crimes Act 1958[6] which has been repealed now. The provision states that every person who is accused of an offence shall be admitted when the case has been closed for the purpose of the prosecution to provide the full answer to every question as well as defence received through legal representation. The second source is obligations involved related to international law. under Article 14(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights[7] where the person who is accused should be provided with legal aid in such circumstances where there is the involvement of interest in justice. The third source is the establishment of an international precedent that involves a similar situation. With reference to the above cases, such a source has been defined by him.

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