Murray Torcetti Lawyers

Case Notes - The More You Know, The Better The Result For the Client

Case Note QLD -  GJK v Commissioner of Police [2021] QDC 288

Murray Torcetti Lawyers are criminal defence lawyers who appear in Brisbane and Caboolture Courts. We write our own case notes from recent criminal decisions for internal purposes. Full case can be found here.

However, unlike your annoying sibling, we don’t mind sharing.

Facts: A woman was seen driving away form an address known to the police to be involved in the movement of drugs, driving a vehicle owned by a man also known to be involved in the movement of drugs. When pulled over by the police for a license check there was no other indications of criminal behaviour, however she herself was also subject to intelligence about the movement of drugs.

Police then performed a search the vehicle and found $9,610 of cash reasonably suspected of being tainted property (it was located in a secret compartment in the vehicle). A magistrate convicted the appellant. The appeal was on the basis the intercept and search was not legal and the guilty verdict was not supported by the evidence.

Finding: Section 60(1)-(3) of the Police Powers and Responsibility Act (PPRA) set out the powers of police for stopping vehicles, in this case the police stopped the vehicle to ”identify the driver” which is not a power the law allows for. Nor were the prerequisites for searching a vehicle under s31 of the PPRA met.  The search of the vehicle after being stopped for the purpose of checking the license of the driver was unlawful. In the absence of any immediate indicia of a crime being committed, the search was unlawful. The balancing of the Bunning v Cross considerations weighted in favour of the exclusion of the evidence as a check on the powers of police.

Notes for practice:

  • The court broke down the powers of the police to stop a vehicle and the other powers to search a vehicle.
  • All those QP9’s with reasons for stopping vehicles worth closer inspection.
  • A great example of where the court should exclude evidence obtained after an unlawful search.

Because lawyers love a good disclaimer – here is ours – It boils down to: If you need legal advice see a lawyer. Dr Google isn’t going to prescribe you meds if you are sick, Google LLB isn’t going to give you advice or information specific to your situation.

If you need legal assistance. See a lawyer. We are lawyers, you can absolutely call us on 07 5414 4209. Criminal law is what we do and a reason we publish these notes…

You might not read it, but we will rely on it if you try and sue us (smug face).

More case notes can be found here.

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