In NSW 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 sentence of imprisonment of 5 years or more.
The warning 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 maximum penalty for this offence is 150 penalty units and/or 3 years imprisonment.
- Prison Sentence
- Home Detention
- Intensive Corrections Order (ICO)
- Suspended Sentence
- Community Service Order (CSO)
- Community Corrections Orders (CCO)
- Good Behaviour Bond
- Section 10A
- Conditional Release Order (CRO)
- Section 10
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 The Offence Of 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;
- walking the dog with a couple from your neighbourhood who police have told you are repeat fraud offenders and warned you about consorting with them.
What The Police Must Prove
To convict you of Consorting the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:
- that you were given an official warning against consorting with particular people;
- that you consorted with two or more persons;
- that you did so on two or more occasions with each person;
- that the persons have been convicted of serious indictable offences;
- that you had no lawful excuse for consorting with these people.
Possible Defences For Consorting
The common ways to defend this charge are:
- to maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act;
- to argue that you were not warned by police;
- to argue that you were not consorting;
- to argue that you were not consorting with two or more people;
- to argue that the person has not been convicted of serious indictable offences; or
- to raise necessity or duress as the reason for your conduct.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
The charge is a table two offence which means that the matter 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 only impose a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
Types of Penalties
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.
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.
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.