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...

Leaving or Sending an Article with Intent to Cause Alarm


In NSW, leaving or sending an article with intent to cause alarm is an offence that carries a maximum of 5 years imprisonment. This offence is governed by section 93R of the Crimes Act 1900 and carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

The Offence of Leaving or Sending an Article with Intent to Cause Alarm

The offence of leaving or sending an article with intent to cause alarm occurs when a person leaves in any place, or sends by any means, a substance or article, and intends to induce a false belief that the substance or article is likely to be a danger to the safety of a person or of property, or both.

What Actions Might Constitute an Offence of Leaving or Sending an Article with Intent to Cause Alarm?

A person could be charged with this offence based on:

  • Leaving a backpack with wires poking out of the top of it at a train station with the intention that people might think it was a bomb
  • Sending unsealed biochemical containers to people in the mail marked with the label ‘sars virus’
  • Leaving a wrapped package which emits a ‘ticking’ noise in in a shopping centre

What the Police Must Prove

To convict a person of leaving or sending an article with intent to cause alarm the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • that the accused left in a place or sent a substance or article; and
  • That the accused intended to induce a false belief that the substance or article was likely to be a danger to the safety of a person and/or property.

Possible Defences for Leaving or Sending an Article with Intent to Cause Alarm

Possible defences to leaving or sending an article with intent to cause alarm include but are not limited to:

  • That the accused had no intention to induce a belief that the thing you left or sent somewhere would be dangerous;
  • That it was not the accused who left or sent the article or substance.

Which Court Will Hear Your 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 it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

Types of penalties

Jail: This is the most serious penalty and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

Home Detention: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 as a standalone order but may be imposed as a condition of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring. Read more.

Intensive Corrections Order (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.

Suspended Sentence: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018. This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.

Community Service Order (CSO): As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.

Good Behaviour Bond: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.

Community Corrections Orders (CCO): A CCO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the Community Corrections Orders (CCO). Additional conditions may be imposed at the discretion of the court, both at the time of sentence and subsequently upon application by a community corrections officer, juvenile justice officer or the offender. Read more.

Fines: When deciding the amount of a fine the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Section 10A: A section 10A is a conviction, with no other penalty attached to it. Read more.

Conditional Release Order (CRO): A CRO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the CRO. Read more.

Section 10 avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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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