In New South Wales you can be given an official warning by police if you are consorting (associating or dealing with) with a person who is a convicted offender. A convicted offender is someone who has been convicted of a serious indictable offence, that is an offence which carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment of five years or more. The warning from the police can be verbal or written but must inform you that the person is a convicted offender and that it is an offence to consort with them.
The Offence Of Consorting
The offence of Consorting is contained in section 93X of the Crimes Act 1900 and states:
A person who:
- habitually consorts with convicted offenders; and
- consorts with those convicted offenders after having been given an official warning in relation to each of those convicted offenders.
is guilty of an offence.
Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years, or a fine of 150 penalty units, or both.
What Actions Might Constitute Consorting?
Examples of consorting include:
- meeting up with a group of bikers on a weekly basis after you’ve been given written warnings in relation to each of them;
- employing several people who police have told you are repeat fraud offenders and warned you about consorting with them.
What The Police Must Prove
To convict a person of consorting the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
- that they were given an official warning against consorting with particular people;
- that they consorted with two or more persons;
- that they did so on two or more occasions with each person;
- that they persons have been convicted of serious indictable offences;
- that they had no lawful excuse for consorting with these people.
Possible Defences For Consorting
A person charged with consorting can argue in their defence that:
- they were not warned by police;
- they were not consorting with two or more people;
- that the persons had not been convicted of serious indictable offences; or
- to raise the defence of duress.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
The charge of consorting will be finalised in the Local Court unless the Director of Public Prosecutions elects to have the matter finalised in the District Court. If the matter is finalised in the Local Court the court can impose a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.