This case involved criminal charges for trafficking and possession of drugs of dependence under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981. A preliminary issue for determination was whether the County Court should exercise its discretion to refer a question to the Supreme Court regarding the interpretation of section 5 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 compatibly with the human rights in the Charter.
The Commission intervened to make submissions on the considerations relevant to a referral decision. The Commission submitted that questions should only be referred to the Supreme Court where they are significant and important, as a lower threshold for referral runs the risk of excluding lower courts from the human rights dialogue envisaged by the Charter.
The County Court decided against exercising its discretion to refer the question for determination by the Supreme Court.