The Perth teen arrested in Bali for allegedly possessing illegal drugs may be breathing a sigh of relief after tests purportedly returned a negative result for illegal drugs.
However, under West Australian law, things are somewhat more complicated than the average party goer might realise.
When this sort thing happens in Western Australia, there can quite often still be criminal consequences even if the subsequent tests come back as negative for illicit drugs.
It all depends on whether there were admissions made at or after the time of arrest. Unfortunately, most people are all too willing to talk to the police when they are arrested and this this can have some serious consequences in cases like this one.
In circumstances where the police find what is suspected to be illicit drugs, they will inevitably ask the suspect questions about the substance. If the suspect states that they believe that the substance is, for example, MDMA powder: they will incriminating themselves for an offence even if the substance is later found to be something completely lawful, i.e. crushed up paracetamol.
By telling the police that they believe that the substance is MDMA: they are admitting to the offence of attempting to possess a prohibited drug.
Under WA’s Criminal Code and Misuse of Drugs Act, attempting to possess a prohibited drug is treated exactly the same as actually possessing a prohibited drug.
However, if the suspect makes no admissions as to their belief as to what the substance is: it is unlikely that there will be enough evidence to charge them with anything.
Just another example of why it is so important to use your right to remain silent.