Drug diversion programs provide offenders with the opportunity to divert from the criminal justice system and enter into treatment to address their illicit drug or alcohol-related problems.
Illicit Drugs Court Diversion Program
The Illicit Drugs Court Diversion Program is aimed at diverting all eligible offenders who appear in Magistrates Courts or any Queensland Children's Magistrates Court charged with possession of a small amount of an illicit drug for personal use.
The Program is conducted under a legislative framework specified in the Drug Diversion Amendment Act 2002, and commenced in March 2003.
Magistrates in the courts are permitted to sentence eligible and consenting offenders pleading guilty to offences of possession of a small quantity of drugs and/or utensil to a recognisance with a condition that the offender attends a drug assessment and education session. Session attendance means that a conviction is not recorded. If a diverted offender fails to attend the designated drug assessment and education session, they are returned to court to be dealt with again for the original offence.
As with the Police Diversion Program, diverted offenders who are identified as having a dependence on an illicit drug are also offered a referral to an authorised provider of outpatient treatment programs.
In the case of juvenile offenders, the court proceedings are adjourned while the young person attends the session. If they successfully complete the assessment and education session, a finding of guilt is made against the young person but no conviction is recorded nor any further action taken. If the young person fails to attend the session, they are returned to court for the Magistrate to determine sentencing.
A person is eligible to be offered the opportunity to attend a drug assessment and education session if they:
An 'eligible drug offence' is an offence against the Drugs Misuse Act 1986, Section 9 (possessing dangerous drug) or Section 10 (possessing things) if the drug and the quantity of the drug and another substance is less than the amount prescribed in a schedule of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992.
The court must also be satisfied that the dangerous drug or drugs were for the person's personal use.