This article was written by Trudie Cameron - Practice Director – Sydney

Trudie is an accredited specialist in criminal law and practises exclusively in criminal and traffic law. Trudie defends clients charged with both state and commonwealth offences and appears on their behalf in Local and District Courts. Trudie has also instructed counsel in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal and the High Court....

NSW Crime Commission


The New South Wales Crime Commission (NSWCC) was created in 1986 pursuant to the New South Wales Crime Commission Act 1985 (NSW) and operates with the intention to reduce instances of crime across the state. The NSW Crime Commission investigates crime, conducts hearings and has the power to confiscate property or money that is the proceeds of crime before a matter is dealt with by the court system.

I Have Been Summonsed To Give Evidence Before The NSWCC. Do I Need A Lawyer?

Yes. If you have been summonsed to give evidence before the New South Wales Crime Commission, you will need a lawyer. The member of the commission is an employee of the commission and their intention is to gather evidence to solve a crime. They are not impartial like a judge or a magistrate in a regular court. Quite often the member will ask you questions. The person cross examining you also is employed by the commission and is usually an investigator. They will ask questions, which you must answer truthfully.

Without a lawyer to protect you, you are likely to have difficulty identifying offensive or misleading questions and could incriminate yourself.

An experienced lawyer will know what questions are unfair and when to raise objections. They will ensure your interests are protected.

What Happens at a NSWCC Hearing?

During the hearing you’ll be required to take an oath or affirmation that you will tell the truthwhile giving evidence. If you refuse to take the oath you can be charged with an offence under Section 18 of the New South Wales Crime Commission Act 1985 (NSW) and fined up to 20 penalty units and/or sentenced to up to two years imprisonment.

Giving false or misleading evidence is an offence under Section 20 and if convicted you can be sentenced to a fine of up to 500 penalty units and/or five years imprisonment.

Do I Have To Give Information or Answer Questions?

Section 16 of the New South Wales Crime Commission Act 1985 (NSW) gives the NSWCC the power to summons a person to appear before the commission and give evidence. If a person refuses to do so they can be arrested under Section 18AA and subsequently charged with the offence of failing to attend and answer questions. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units and/or two years imprisonment.

If the NSWCC serves a person with written notice asking them to produce documents or other things you must do so or you could be charged under Section 17 of the NSW Crime Commission Act 1985 (NSW) and receive a fine of up to 10 penalty units and/or up to six months imprisonment.

Protection Against Self Incrimination

If you are called as a witness and placed in the position where answering a question or providing evidence will incriminate you, you must still answer the question and produce the evidence. Under Section 18B.2, any information that you do give in a NSWCC hearing cannot be used against you in civil or criminal proceedings. Section 18B.3 allows evidence you give to be used in proceedings related to contempt of NSW Crime Commission investigations.

Non-Disclosure of Evidence

If you appear at a NSWCC investigation as a witness you are not permitted to disclose any information relating to the investigation. If you do then you can be fined up to 50 penalty units and/or sentenced to up to 12 months imprisonment.

If you require any information about NSW Crime Commission investigations or any other legal matter phone us on 1300 038 223 or send us an email.

WHERE TO NEXT?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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