This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Directors Wilfully Destroying Books (NSW)


The maximum penalty for the offence of a director wilfully destroying books is ten years imprisonment. The offence is governed by the New South Wales Crimes Act.

What court is likely to hear the matter

This matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made, the matter will be dealt with in the Local Court.

What the police must prove

The prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • The accused was a director, officer or member of any body corporate or public company.
  • The accused destroyed, altered, mutilated, or falsifies, any book, entry, paper-writing, or valuable security, belonging to such body corporate, or company, or made, or concurred in making, any false entry, or omits, or concurred in omitting, any material particular in any book of account, or other document.
  • With intent to defraud.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.

The legislation

Section 175 of the Crimes Act states:

Whosoever, being a director, officer, or member, of any body corporate, or public company, destroys, alters, mutilates, or falsifies, any book, entry, paper-writing, or valuable security, belonging to such body corporate, or company, or makes, or concurs in making, any false entry, or omits, or concurs in omitting, any material particular in any book of account, or other document, with intent in any such case to defraud, shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.

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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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