Obtain Benefit by Deception

The maximum penalty for obtaining a benefit by deception is five years imprisonment.

What court is likely to hear the matter

Where the value of the property charged exceeds $5000, 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.

Where the value of the property charged does not exceed $5000, this matter is a Table 2 offence which means that the DPP 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.

What the police must prove

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

  • The accused dishonestly obtained for himself, herself or another person.
  • Money, a valuable thing, or financial advantage.
  • By a deception.

It will be necessary for the police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.

The law

Section 178BA of the Crimes Act states:

  • Whosoever by any deception dishonestly obtains for himself or herself or another person any money or valuable thing or any financial advantage of any kind whatsoever shall be liable to imprisonment for 5 years.
  • In subsection (1): deception means deception (whether deliberate or reckless) by words or conduct as to fact or as to law, including:

(a) a deception as to the present intentions of the person using the deception or of any other person; and
(b) an act or thing done or omitted to be done with the intention of causing:
(i) a computer system; or
(ii) a machine that is designed to operate by means of payment or identification,

to make a response that the person doing or omitting to do the act or thing is not authorised to cause the computer system or machine to make.

  • For the purposes of and without limiting Part 1A, the necessary geographical nexus exists between the State and an offence against this section if the offence is committed by a public official (within the meaning of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988) and involves public money of the State or other property held by the public official for or on behalf of the State.

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


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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