Concealing a Serious Indictable Offence
In NSW, concealing a serious indictable offence carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment. A serious indictable offence is an offence that is punishable by imprisonment for life or for a term of 5 years or more.
In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for this charge.
- 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 Concealing a Serious Offence:
The offence of Concealing a Serious Indictable Offence is contained in section 316(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 which states: If a person has committed a serious indictable offence and another person who knows or believes that the offence has been committed and that he or she has information which might be of material assistance in securing the apprehension of the offender or the prosecution or conviction of the offender for it fails without reasonable excuse to bring that information to the attention of a member of the Police Force or other appropriate authority, that other person is liable to imprisonment for 2 years.
What Actions Might Constitute “Concealing a Serious Offence”?
- A School Principal or Priest concealing allegations of child sexual abuse;
- If you witness a serious assault or a robbery and believe that you may have information that might assist the police, but you do not make a police report;
- You know that one of your friends is a drug dealer because you have seen them selling drugs to other people and you do not report them to the police.
What the Police Must Prove:
To convict you of Concealing a Serious Indictable Offence, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
- A person has committed a serious indictable offence;
- That you knew, or believed that that person had committed that offence;
- That you had information which might have been of material assistance;
- In securing the apprehension of the offender; or
- In the prosecution or conviction of the offender for it; and
- You failed, without reasonable excuse, to bring that information to the attention of a member of the police force of other appropriate authority.
Prosecution of a person will not be commenced without approval of the Attorney General if the knowledge or belief that and offence had been committed was obtained by the person in the course of practicing or following a profession, calling or vocation prescribed by the regulations. The prescribed professions include but are not limited to medical practitioners, psychologists, legal practitioners and social workers.
Possible Defences for Concealing a Serious Offence:
You could defend this charge by arguing:
- that the information you withheld would not have been of material assistance;
- that you had a reasonable excuse for not bringing the information to the attention of the police;
- that you didn’t actually know or believe that someone had committed a serious indictable offence;
Which Court will Hear Your Matter?
Concealing a Serious Indictable Offence 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.
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.