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Deemed possession

Information about statutory possession of drugs.

If the drug was found on land or premises occupied by the accused, the prosecution may prove possession. They do not need to prove intention (as they do under the common law of drug possession). Once ‘occupation’ is proven, the accused is deemed to be in possession unless the court is satisfied to the contrary.

What is occupation?

Occupation includes:

  • the right to possess premises (so includes a person who is on holidays from the premises, or have a holiday house they maintain but rarely visit)
  • joint possession of the premises.

Deemed possession

Possession can also be deemed if it can be proved the accused used, enjoyed or controlled the drug. Therefore, an admission of drug use will often result in a charge of possession (as well as use).

People who have drugs concealed in their car have been found to have been in ‘control’ of a drug if they have exclusive control of the vehicle.

See R v Burr, Leslie Thomas [1989] VicSC 130 (6 April 1989)(opens in a new window).

More information


Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic)

  • s. 5—meaning of possession (the 'deeming provision')
  • s. 73—offence of possession of a drug of dependence

See Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic).(opens in a new window)

Case law