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Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

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25 Prosecution and punishment of offences.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)Schedule 4 to this Act shall have effect, in accordance with subsection (2) below, with respect to the way in which offences under this Act are punishable on conviction.

(2)In relation to an offence under a provision of this Act specified in the first column of the Schedule (the general nature of the offence being described in the second column)—

(a)the third column shows whether the offence is punishable on summary conviction or on indictment or in either way;

(b)the fourth, fifth and sixth columns show respectively the punishments which may be imposed on a person convicted of the offence in the way specified in relation thereto in the third column (that is to say, summarily or on indictment) according to whether the controlled drug in relation to which the offence was committed was a Class A drug, a Class B drug or a Class C drug; and

(c)the seventh column shows the punishments which may be imposed on a person convicted of the offence in the way specified in relation thereto in the third column (that is to say, summarily or on indictment), whether or not the offence was committed in relation to a controlled drug and, if it was so committed, irrespective of whether the drug was a Class A drug, a Class B drug or a Class C drug;

and in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh columns a reference to a period gives the maximum term of imprisonment and a reference to a sum of money the maximum fine.

[F1(2A)Subsection (2B) applies if an offence specified in the first column of Schedule 4 is committed in relation to a temporary class drug.

(2B)The punishments which may be imposed on a person convicted of the offence summarily or (as the case may be) on indictment in relation to the temporary class drug are the same as those which could be imposed had the person been convicted of the offence in that way in relation to a Class B drug (see the fifth column of Schedule 4).]

(3)An offence under section 19 of this Act shall be punishable on summary conviction, on indictment or in either way according to whether, under Schedule 4 to this Act, the substantive offence is punishable on summary conviction, in indictment or in either way; and the punishments which may be imposed on a person convicted of an offence under that section are the same as those which, under that Schedule, may be imposed on a person convicted of the substantive offence.

In this subsection “the substantive offence” means the offence under this Act to which [F2the attempt or, as the case may be], the incitement [F2or attempted incitement] mentioned in section 19 was directed.

[F3(3A)The punishments which may be imposed on a person convicted of an offence under section 23A(6) are the same as those which, under Schedule 4, may be imposed on a person convicted of an offence under section 23(4).]

(4)Notwithstanding anything in [F4section 127(1) of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980], a magistrates’ court in England and Wales may try an information for an offence under this Act if the information was laid at any time within twelve months from the commission of the offence.

(5)Notwithstanding anything in [F5section 331 of the M1Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975] (limitation of time for proceedings in statutory offences) summary proceedings in Scotland for an offence under this Act may be commenced at any time within twelve months from the time when the offence was committed, and subsection (2) of the said section 23 shall apply for the purposes of this subsection as it applies for the purposes of that section.

(6)Notwithstanding anything in [F6Article 19(1) of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981], a magistrates’ court in Northern Ireland may hear and determine a complaint for an offence under [F7section 17(3) of] this Act if the complaint was made at any time within twelve months from the commission of the offence.

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F6Words commencing “Article 19(1)” substituted (N.I.) for words commencing “section 34” by S.I. 1981/1675 (N.I. 26), Sch. 6 Pt. I para. 20

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