A convicted drug dealer has been ordered to pay the State of Queensland more than half a million dollars under the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002 (Qld).
Townsville man Matthew Francis Olssen was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment in 2016, for trafficking, supplying and possessing methylamphetamine in 2011.
Last week, Brisbane Supreme Court Justice Sullivan ordered Olssen to pay $337,217.50 as the value of proceeds derived from illegal activity, plus interest of $253,065.95, making a total of $590,283.45.
The proceeds assessment order application, which was filed in February 2014 – within the required six years of the illegal activity from which the proceeds were derived – had initially sought $720,000.
The figure was eventually amended to $353,153.16 at the trial hearing in September this year, at which Olssen chose not to appear.
In October 2016, Olssen was convicted in the Townsville Supreme Court of trafficking in a dangerous drug between 1 June 2011 and 19 October 2011; possessing dangerous drugs on 26 August 2011; and supplying dangerous drugs on 26 August 2011.
He was sentenced to nine years in prison, with a non-parole period of six-and-a-half years, on the trafficking count, and received no further punishment on the possessing and supplying counts.
In June 2018, an appeal against the conviction was dismissed and an application for leave to appeal against the sentence was refused. Two months later, Olssen’s application for special leave to the High Court was refused with costs.
The trafficking conviction was based on three transactions. The valuation of the drugs involved in the first transaction was removed from the proceeds assessment order application because it may not have been possible to demonstrate the quantity or purity of the drugs involved.
The second transaction involved four individually wrapped blocks weighing a total of 1799.2 grams, containing 318.4 grams of pure methylamphetamine, giving an average purity of 17.69 per cent.
The third transaction involved two bags weighing a total of 322.571 grams, containing 58.98 grams of pure methylamphetamine, giving an average purity of 18.28 per cent.
A “prescribed officer” defined by the Act gave evidence at the hearing as to the market value of the drug at the time of seizure, relying on Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Reports for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 financial years.
Both reports recorded that for the non-crystalline form of methylamphetamine sold in Queensland in pounds, the market price in each financial year was $45,000 to $90,000 per pound.
The officer assessed the value as between $60,000 and $90,000, stating the value of wholesale illicit drugs in North Queensland had a higher floor to the range than for the same drugs sold in Southern Queensland.
Justice Sullivan assessed the value of the second transaction a $75,000 per pound, or $297,217.50; and the third transaction at $40,000, or $56,238.38; finding that the proceeds derived from the third transaction were on balance likely to be less at the relevant time.
He said his assessment was based on the transactions being made for a wholesale purpose and not for street level retail.
“That later basis would have produced a much higher market value. I find that the proper basis to value the drugs is on a wholesale basis and not retail. The quantity of the drugs in each transaction supports this conclusion,” he said.
Interest was calculated from the date on which the drugs were seized, creating total interest payable of $253,065.95.
Justice Sullivan considered costs should follow the event but said he would hear from parties if required.