23-Year-Old Man Charged Over Knockout Festival Drug Death

4 October 2023 | 10:01 am | Jessie Lynch

Tragically, the start of the summer festival season saw two fatalities over the weekend.

Knockout Festival

Knockout Festival (YouTube)

A 23-year-old man has been charged over supplying a prohibited drug to a 21-year-old who later died at Sydney’s Knockout Festival over the weekend.

ICYMI: Tragically, the start of the summer festival season saw two fatalities over the weekend — 26-year-old Jason Lee and a 21-year-old man — who had both been in attendance at the outdoor music event.

Following the deaths, police arrested and charged 23-year-old Trong Ha Nguyen at Sydney airport at 4.20pm on Monday with supplying a drug suspected of causing the death of the 21-year-old at the festival.

“During a search of the man, police located and seized $13,535 in cash to undergo forensic examination,” a police spokesperson said.

The Victorian man was taken to Mascot police station where he was charged with supplying a prohibited drug causing death and dealing with proceeds of crime less than $100,000.

Police said he faced Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday and was refused bail, to appear back in court in November.

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Knockout Festival was held at Giants Stadium last Saturday (September 30), and featured performances from the likes of SEFA, Dimitri K, Odium and Deadly Guns over three stages. It hosted some 53,000 punters with relatively minimal police intervention – according to NSW Police, 27 people at the festival were charged with possession of prohibited drugs, while four people (two men and two women) were charged with the supply of prohibited drugs.

Yesterday, a friend of one of the deceased men Julia An, revealed that her late friend Jason Lee had been attempting to send her his location so she could come and help but he lost consciousness before they were able to find him.

An unknown person found him and called an ambulance shortly after.

“He spoke to me was at 11:44pm … His last breaths were used on telling me he will send his location and to come find him, unfortunately he didn’t make it past that point and collapsed,” An said via the Daily Telegraph.

“After hours of trying to locate him, I received a call saying he was in critical condition at the hospital. When his mum and sister got there, he had already passed.”

In a statement published by the ABC, Detective Superintendent Simon Glasser said NSW Police were awaiting autopsy reports on the two men before making conclusive assessments on the causes of their deaths.

He did not confirm either death to be directly caused by drug use, but stated: “This shows that people can die at music festivals. Drugs can have some horrible consequences. When you mix that with the heat of yesterday, it's an added risk factor that can cause adverse effects.”

Glasser continued: “It’s horrible. These events are events to go and enjoy some music and have a lot of fun with mates, so it's tragic people have lost their lives.”

The deaths have once again brought pill testing into the spotlight, with many experts now pressuring the NSW government to implement the harm-reduction measure as we head into a hot festival season to avoid even more unnecessary drug-related deaths.