Hindering an Investigation - Charges, Penalties and Sentencing

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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...

Hindering an Investigation (NSW)


In New South Wales, hindering an Investigation is an offence and carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment. Hindering an investigation can be done by way of hindering the discovery of evidence or the apprehension of a person as well as the investigation itself.

The legislation

The offence of Hindering an Investigation is contained in section 315 of the Crimes Act 1900 which states that a person who does anything intending in any way to hinder:

  • the investigation of a serious indictable offence committed by another person, or
  • the discovery of evidence concerning a serious indictable offence committed by another person, or
  • the apprehension of another person who has committed a serious indictable offence,

is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

What Actions Might Constitute “Hindering an Investigation”?

A person could be charged with this offence if they:

  • Hid someone who was the subject of a criminal investigation;
  • Pretended to be the person who committed a crime to allow someone else to escape conviction;
  • Hid evidence of an offence – for example, a weapon that was used to assault someone

What must be proven

To find a person guilty of of Hindering an Investigation the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That the accused did an act;
  • The accused Intended in any way to hinder:
    • The investigation of a serious indictable offence committed by another person;
    • The discovery of evidence concerning a serious indictable offence committed by another person; or
    • The apprehension of another person who has committed a serious indictable offence

A serious indictable offence is an offence that is punishable by a term of five years imprisonment or more.

Jurisdiction

Hindering an Investigation is a Table 1 offence and is to be dealt with by the Local Court, unless you or the prosecution elect for the matter to be heard in the District Court on indictment. The summary disposal of these offences in the Local Court carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.

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