Another NRL star has been arrested and charged with cocaine possession after not complying with a 'move on' direction.
Warriors player Reece Walsh was arrested during a night out on the Gold Coast's Surfers Paradise party strip.
The Gold Coast-born 19-year-old admitted to using and possessing cocaine in a public statement.
Warriors chief executive Cameron George said Walsh would undergo drug and alcohol counselling.
Reece Walsh Charged with Cocaine Possession
NRL player Reece Walsh was charged with cocaine possession and taken to Surfers Paradise Police Station.
A statement released by police to the media explained that he was initially issued with a move on direction from the Surfers Paradise party strip.
However, Mr Walsh returned to the area less than an hour later. Police saw him and approached him at 1am in relation to not complying with the move on direction.
He was arrested and taken to the Surfers Paradise Police Station where he was questioned.
Following the incident, mobile phone footage emerged on social media showing the 19-year-old being handcuffed by police.
Walsh spoke to his manager and the Warrior's chief executive on a Zoom call where he expressed his remorse.
"This is solely on me. I should never have done it. It's a mistake that I've made and I'm aware of that. I'm remorseful and should never have done it," he said.
He also admitted to possessing a small bag of cocaine.
"I was told by officers last night to move on. I didn't move on, which led to me getting arrested and taken back to the police station. Once I got back to the police station I was searched and I was in possession of a small bag of cocaine which I had some of during the night."
The chief executive of the Warriors, Cameron George told media outlets that Walsh had arranged to commence drug and alcohol counselling.
"We don't condone this behaviour so we'll continue to work through this situation with the NRL integrity unit and also our club in terms of sanctioning processes, but as it stands now he's been charged on one count of possession of a prohibited substance and will attend court in mid-October," he said.
However, the club also showed a degree of understanding with Mr George saying, "It hurts the kid. He's learning. He's been exposed into a very big arena that carries a lot of responsibility and pressure. However, none of that is an excuse for Reece, which he established this morning."
Unable to crack it for the Broncos' top 30, Walsh signed a deal to join the Warriors in March 2021. He was granted an early release to allow him to change clubs immediately.
Warriors coach Nathan Brown shifted captain and superstar fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to accommodate Walsh and the young gun responded in kind, scoring nine tries and setting up 11 others from 16 appearances.
Reece Walsh has claimed the Rugby League Players Association's Rookie of the Year Award and was a contender for the Dally M rookie honours.
Had the offence occurred in New South Wales, police would have had the option of issuing Mr Walsh with a Penalty Infringement Notice. This is a fine with no criminal record, similar to a traffic fine. This would have saved the matter having to be heard in Court.
If heard at Court in NSW, the maximum penalty for cocaine possession is 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $2,200.
If you receive a criminal conviction for drug possession, it will stay on your record for 10 years from the date the conviction is recorded. If you receive a jail sentence of more than 6 months (including an Intensive Corrections Order), the conviction will stay on your record for the rest of your life. This also applies if you are facing drug supply charges.
If you are placed on a Condition Release Order Without Conviction, it will stay on your record for the duration of the bond. Once the bond has concluded, it will no longer be on your criminal record.
If you receive a 'Section 10' dismissal, it will not stay on your record. This is not handed out lightly. Often it requires significant preparation and persuasive advocacy before a magistrate or Judge.
That is why it is important to obtain advice from specialist criminal lawyers who have successfully defended hundreds of these charges. You can see some cases where section 10 dismissals for drug possession were given here. Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) sets out that if you have custody and control of a prohibited drug, you can be guilty of an offence.
You can fight a cocaine possesion charge in two ways. Firstly, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:
- You had possession (ie. physical control or custody) of the alleged drug; and
- You had knowledge or ought to have known that it was there; and
- It was a prohibited drug.
If any of these elements are not made out, then you can be found 'not guilty'.
The following are defences to cocaine possession:
- Illegal search: Police found the drug after an 'illegal search'. This means that police did the search without having a 'reasonable suspicion' that you were involved in illegal activity.
- Filipetti defence: It is reasonably possible that someone other than you, who had access to the area it was found, had control and custody of the drugs or placed it there. This can apply if the drug was found in a common shared area of a house or car which is also used by others (Filipetti (1984) 13 A Crim R 335).
- Duress: You were forced to have possession of the drug;
- Necessity: Your actions were necessary in the circumstances
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.