Court hands down the law in cyberspace on Skype

TECHNOLOGY crossed oceans and time zones in an instant at Lismore Local Court on Tuesday when an Australian man living in Canada was sentenced via Skype for possessing ecstasy.

Magistrate David Heilpern "got his tech on" and dialled Sam Powderly's Skype contact on his court-issued iPad hoping to connect with the 20-year-old who was caught with ecstasy at Splendour in the Grass.

After several attempts due to internet connection issues, Mr Powderly relocated to the ski lodge where he worked and appeared on the screen, surrounded by snow.

Powderly, from Avalon Beach in Sydney, was detected in possession of 12 ecstasy tablets by police at the music festival on July 27 and issued a court attendance notice.

He appeared at Byron Bay Local Court on September 19, where he entered a guilty plea to possessing prohibited drugs.

The court heard a charge of supplying a prohibited drug against Powderly was previously withdrawn by the prosecution.

When the Skype connection dropped out Mr Heilpern proceeded to sentence Powderly.

Mr Heilpern dismissed the charge against Powderly and ordered that the ecstasy be destroyed.

Section 3a of the Evidence Audio and Audio Visual Links Act of 1998 provides provisions for offenders to be sentenced via Skype.

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