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Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 – Amended Definition of “School Premises"

Friday, 27 January 2017

On 1 February 2017 the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 (Application) (Amendment) Order 2017 comes into operation.  It amends the 2016 order that applied in Island law certain elements of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 of Parliament.

The elements of the Act applied in Island law were concerned with the import, export and production of psychoactive substances, and the possession of such substances with intent to supply.  Section 5 created an offence of supplying, or offering to supply, a psychoactive substance.

The amendment taking effect from 1 February modifies section 6 of the Act, which dealt with certain circumstances that could be treated as aggravating factors when determining the seriousness of an offence under section 5 of the Act.

As originally enacted, an aggravating factor would have been if the offence took place on or in the vicinity of school premises at a time when the premises were in use by persons under the age of 18, and one hour before the start, or one hour after the end, of such use.

The revised section 6 replaces reference to “school premises” which a new definition that would encompass other places of education where children may be present.

The amended section 6 provides that a court may treat as an aggravating factor if the offence takes place on or in the vicinity of –

a.         a university,

b.         a college,

c.         other educational establishment or institution, or

d.         other premises in the Island to which section 31 (arrangements for higher education), section 32 (arrangements for continuing education) or section 33(1) (provision of colleges) of the Education Act 2001 applies,

at a time when the premises are in use by persons under the age of 18, and one hour before the start, or one hour after the end, of such use.

The effect of there being an aggravating factor would be to increase the severity of any sentence passed, whether it is a custodial or community sentence, a fine, or both.  In determining the appropriate sentence in such cases, the court would also take into account other aggravating or mitigating factors.

For more information contact Customs and Excise.

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