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In NSW it is an offence to damage or desecrate certain protected places. The offence prohibits people from vandalising, damaging or defiling any shrine, monument or statue that is located in a public place. Examples of protected places include war memorials, such as the Anzac Memorial Hyde Park and its surrounding sculptures and structures and the statue of Queen Victoria on George Street Town Hall outside the Queen Victoria building.
A person can be charged with this offence if they break, vandalise, damage, urinate on or in some other way defile a public shrine, statue or monument.
The maximum penalty for this offence is 40 penalty units.
In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for damaging or desecrating protected places.
The offence of Damaging or Desecrating Protected Places is contained in section 8 (2) of the Summary Offences Act and states:
A person must not wilfully damage or deface any protected place.
Maximum penalty: 40 penalty units.
Examples of Damaging or Desecrating Protected Places include:
To convict you of Damaging or Desecrating Protected Places the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:
The common ways to defend this charge are:
The offence is a summary offence and will be finalised in the Local Court.
The consequences of a conviction can be serious depending upon what you do for a living. Some jobs require you to have no criminal convictions and a conviction for a damaging or desecrating protected places charge might jeopardise your job or make it difficult to obtain visas for overseas travel. Moreover a conviction can completely rule out certain career paths such as teaching and a range of government employment options.
It is important to get legal advice at an early stage to ascertain precisely what the consequences of a conviction may be and whether you have a defence to the charge.
Suspended Sentence: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018.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Community Service Order (CSO): As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO).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.
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.