Burglary, the offence of entering the dwelling of another person with the intention to commit a crime, is created by section 419(1) of the Queensland Criminal Code and, in its least serious form punishable by 14 years imprisonment.
The term “dwelling” has a wide meaning under the Act and includes a building or even part of a building used as a residence, regardless if it is occasionally uninhabited.
If the offence is committed in any one of the five (5) aggravated circumstances contained in the Queensland Criminal Code, then a maximum penalty of life imprisonment also applies.
The Offence of Aggravated Burglary
Section 419(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1899 follows on from subsection (1) and (2) and adds that if:
- the offence is committed in the night or
- the offender
- uses or threatens to use actual violence; or
- is or pretends to be armed with a dangerous or offensive weapon. Instrument or noxious substance; or
- is in company with 1 or more persons; or
- damages, or threatens or attempts to damage, any property.
the offender is liable to imprisonment for life.
Aggravated burglary is, therefore, the offence of entering a dwelling with the intent to commit an offence when it occurs in any one of the above circumstances.
What Actions Might Constitute Aggravated Burglary?
- Entering a neighbour’s house via an unlocked door at midnight.
- Climbing through a window of a house, with a baseball bat in hand.
- Damaging your neighbour’s television in their living room for not repaying money lent to them.
What the Police Must Prove
In circumstances of aggravated burglary, the police must prove three things for you to be convicted:
- that you entered the dwelling of another;
- that you did so with the intent to commit an offence; and
- that the offence you intended to commit was an indictable offence; and
- one of the aggravated circumstances applied.
Possible Defences for the Offence of Aggravated Burglary
A charge of aggravated burglary may be defended by arguing that:
- the accused did not have the necessary intent to commit an indictable offence;
- the premises was not a dwelling;
- the accused didn’t enter the dwelling;
- the accused acted under duress;
- there were no aggravating circumstances.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
An offence of aggravated burglary will be heard and determined in the District Court.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.