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John Sutton

In NSW, it is an offence to commit an act of bestiality and to attempt to commit an act of bestiality.

The offence of committing an act of bestiality carries a maximum penalty of fourteen years imprisonment. The offence of attempting to commit an act of bestiality carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a charge of bestiality.


The offence of bestiality is set out in section 79 of the Crimes Act 1900, which states: “any person who commits an act of bestiality with any animal shall be liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.”

The offence of attempting to commit bestiality is set out in section 80 of the same Act, which states: “any person who attempts to commit an act of bestiality with any animal shall be liable to imprisonment for five years.”


  • There is no definition of bestiality in the Crimes Act, however, there is case law that states that the definition would include any form of sexual intercourse with an animal: R v Brown (1889) 24 QBD 357.
  • Penetration is not required for an offence under this section to arise, as long as there is behaviour that can be defined as some form of sexual intercourse: R v Bourne (1952) 36 Cr App R 125.
  • As such, both men and women can commit an offence under this section: R v Packer [1932] VLR 225.


To convict you of a charge of bestiality, the Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt, that you:

  • Committed an act of bestiality.
    • That is, you did carnally know an animal.

To convict you of a charge of attempt to commit bestiality, the Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt, that you:

  • Attempted to commit an act of bestiality.



This offence is a strictly indictable offence, meaning that it will be finalised in the District or Supreme Court.

Types of penalties:

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

Home Detention: 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 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): 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 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.

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 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.

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