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Engaging in Match-Fixing Conduct

Match-fixing is becoming more prevalent worldwide. In 2014, the offence of engaging in match-fixing conduct was introduced into the Criminal Code Act 1899. As a means of deterrence and to demonstrate the serious nature of the charge; it carries with it a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

Section 443A of the Act states that a person who engages in match-fixing in relation to sport to:

  • obtain or receive a pecuniary benefit for any person; or
  • cause a pecuniary detriment to another person;

commits a crime. They will be liable to up to 10 years imprisonment. The person can be found guilty regardless of whether a pecuniary benefit was obtained or a pecuniary detriment was caused.

What Is the Definition of Match-Fixing Conduct?

Under the Act, “match-fixing conduct”, in relation to sport, means conduct that:

  • affects, or if engaged in could reasonably be expected to affect, the outcome of the event or the happening of the contingency; and
  • is contrary to the standards of integrity that an ordinary person would reasonably expect of persons in a position to affect or influence the outcome of the event or the happening of the contingency.

What Actions Might Constitute Engaging in Match-Fixing Conduct?

  • The coach of an NRL team leaving out his star players for the next match because his brother has placed a large bet on the opposition team winning.
  • The full-forward of Brisbane Lions AFL side intentionally missing the winning goal because he has placed a bet on the opposition team winning that match.
  • An umpire of a cricket match making an incorrect call on an appeal for LBW due to his uncle betting on the opposition team winning.

What the Police Must Prove:

The police must prove the following in order for you to be convicted:

  • that you were the person engaging in the conduct;
  • the conduct constitutes “match-fixing conduct” under the definition;
  • the purpose of the conduct was for a pecuniary benefit or detriment to a person.

Possible Defences for Engaging in Match-Fixing Conduct:

  • Identity – it wasn’t you who engaged in the conduct;
  • The conduct does not fall under the definition of “match -fixing”;
  • You did not engage in the conduct for the required purpose;
  • Duress – you were forced to engage in the conduct.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

Despite the maximum penalty of this charge being 10 years imprisonment, the offence of engaging in match-fixing conduct is predominantly heard and determined in the Magistrates Court. The only occasion the matter may be dealt with in the District Court, is when the Magistrate determines due to the nature or seriousness of the matter, the defendant, if convicted, may not be adequately punished in the Magistrates Court.

Types of Penalties

Imprisonment : Even though it is not a sentence of last resort (as it is in some other states) imprisonment is the most serious penalty which a court can impose upon a person. At its most severe a sentence of imprisonment means that a person must spend a specified period of time within a correctional facility, also called a prison, a jail or a gaol. Read more.

Intensive corrections order (ICO): An Intensive Corrections Order (‘ICO’ for short) is, technically, a form of imprisonment but which is served wholly in the community. This means that a person who is made subject to an ICO will not spend any time in prison but will, instead, be required to adhere to a number of requirements that the court will order.

Probation: A court can make a Probation Order either by itself, meaning the whole of the sentence is probation, or as a component of a sentence of imprisonment, meaning that a person is ordered to serve a period of time (not longer than 1 year) in prison and is then subject to a probation requirement upon release.

Community service order (CSO): As the name implies, a Community Service Order (‘CSO’ for short) is an order which requires a person to perform unpaid work, normally at some kind of community facility, for a stated number of hours (to a maximum of 240) within a nominated time (usually 6 or 12 months).

Recognisance: A recognisance is a promise which a person makes to be of good behaviour for a stated period of time. A court is empowered to release a person who enters into a recognisance, either with a surety, which is a sum of money which the person agrees to pay if they breach the recognisance, or without one.

Fines: A court is empowered to impose a fine, which is a sum of money which a person is required to pay to the State, for any offence regardless of whether the law creating it nominates a fine as part of the applicable penalty.

Section 19 dismissal: A court can discharge a person absolutely, or upon them entering into a recognisance, without recording a conviction against them, if it is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so.

In all cases where you are sentenced to a penalty other than jail, the court can choose not to record a conviction against you, meaning your criminal record will remain clear and any complications with work or travel may be avoided.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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