After receiving information that drugs were present in the home where Mr Filippetti lived, Police searched his premises.
Police found 800g of cannabis (deemed supply) under the cushion of the lounge seat where Mr Filippetti’s mum was sitting.
Mr Filippetti was found guilty and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 2 years.
The jury heard that six people were living in the three bedroom house at the time of the search. This included Mr Filippetti, his fiancé, his mother, his younger brother, and another de facto couple, Frank Previati and Judy Gulliver.
All six people had access to the lounge room area and made free use of it.
Whose drugs were they?
On appeal, NSW Chief Justice Sir Laurence Street outlined that for the charge to be established, it was essential for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the cannabis was in Filippetti’s “exclusive physical control.”
As the cannabis was found in the “communal lounge room,” HH held that the drugs were obviously not in Mr Filippetti’s sole custody.
In this situation, it is necessary for the Crown to negate possession on the part of the other occupants of the house. If the Crown cannot do this, “exclusive physical control” Cannot be proved.
HH noted: “The inescapable fact is there was not enough evidence to enable the jury to rule out the possibility that these buddha sticks in fact were in possession of one of the other occupants”
There was no evidence to show the drugs were in Filippetti’s exclusive control.
Since the time of the appeal, the Filippetti rule of possession has been cited with approval in numerous cases.