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10 Crimes You Didn’t Know Existed in NSW


1.Concealing a Birth (section 85 Crimes Act 1900)

This offence is targeted at situations where a baby is stillborn and the body buried without alerting authorities. It does not involve blaming the accused for the death of the child, but only for failing to report the birth. Concealing the birth of a child in NSW carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment.

2.Peeping or Prying (section 547C Crimes Act 1900)

Whether Peeping Tom uses the old fashioned “peephole” in the ladies toilets or a more sophisticated method, he still faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 3 months if found guilty of being in or near a building with intent to peep or pry on another.

3.Stealing or Damaging Books and Other Things in Public Library and Other Places (section 525 Crimes Act 1900)

Let’s face it: stealing a library book isn’t up there in terms of thrilling heists, but this offence also captures stealing objects such as art or manuscripts from galleries and museums. If the National Treasure team had been busted stealing artefacts in NSW they would be facing maximum penalties of a year in jail as well as fines of up to 4 times the value of what was stolen.

4.Stealing Dead Wood (section 518 Crimes Act 1900)

Dead wood on someone else’s property is only one of the oddly specific things that the NSW Crimes Act states can’t be stolen. The list includes the skin of stolen cattle, shrubs and shipwrecked goods.

5.False Accusations (section 314 Crimes Act 1900)

This one is a serious offence

6.Self- Administration of Prohibited Drug (section 12 Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act)

While it is commonly known that being in possession of a prohibited drug is illegal, it is less well known that simply using a prohibited drug is also an offence, carrying a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment.

7.Interfering with a Mine (section 201 Crimes Act 1900)

Those most likely to risk offending this provision are environmental protesters, as the definition of “mine” was amended in 2016 to include “a place at which gas or other petroleum is extracted from the ground.

8.Damaging Fountains (section 7 Summary Offences Act 1988)

This is another interestingly specific offence, carrying a maximum fine of $440. Perhaps sadly, it is of note that “causing any foreign material or substance to enter into.

9.Parents who allow children to carry knives (section 11D Summary Offences Act 1988)

For parents who lack the common sense not to allow their children to carry knives in public or to school, there is a $550 maximum fine.

10.Drinking while driving (rule 298-1 Road Rules 2013)

We all know that driving over the limit is illegal. What many might not know is that cracking open a beer and having a sip behind the wheel on the way home, even without recording a blood alcohol reading, could cost you up to $2,200.

Image Credit – olegdudko © 123RF.com

Written by Janelle Whale on May 7, 2018

Janelle is known for her approachable nature and mature sensitivity to the personal needs of each of her clients, qualities that she acquired through representing the disadvantaged in regional NSW before joining the Armstrong Legal team. View Janelle's profile


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