Engaging in Unlawful Unregulated High Risk Activity


Engaging in unlawful unregulated high risk activity is a simple offence under Queensland law and carries a maximum penalty of up to 1 year’s imprisonment or a 20 penalty unit fine. Possible penalties include:

The Offence of Engaging in Unlawful Unregulated High Risk Activities

The offence of engaging in unlawful unregulated high risk activities is created by section 14 of the Summary Offences Act 2005 which says:

“(1) A person must not unlawfully do any of the following—

  • parachute or hang-glide onto a building or structure;
  • BASE-jump or hang-glide from a building or structure;
  • climb up or down the outside of a building or a structure;
  • abseil from a building or structure.

Maximum penalty — 20 penalty units or 1 year’s imprisonment.”

A charge for the offence of engaging in unlawful unregulated high risk activity is often laid in conjunction with a charge of Trespass because the offence is committed where a person engages in one of the specified actions in, on or from, a building or structure (which are almost always the property of someone else).

What the Police Must Prove

In order for a person to be convicted of this offence it must be proved that they:

  • Engaged in one of the activities mentioned in subsections 14(1)(a)-(d), and
  • Had no lawful authority to engage in that activity.

It is important to note that simply having permission from a property owner to perform an activity in, on or from, their property, does not necessarily render your activities lawful. An example of this might be ‘balcony hopping’ on a high-rise or other apartment block. Even if the owners of each apartment consent to, or even encourage, the activity the subsequent ‘climbing up or down the outside of the building’ does not automatically become lawful.

Possible Defences

There are three ’statutory defences’ to a charge of engaging in unlawful unregulated high risk activity. These defences are found in subsection 14(2) of the Act which says that:

“(2) It is not an offence against subsection (1) for a person—

  • to do an act mentioned in that subsection involving a building or structure that has been built for use, or is designated for use, for a purpose mentioned in that subsection; or
  • to do an act mentioned in that subsection involving a building or structure for a stunt performed with the permission of the owner of the building or structure and as part of the person’s engagement or employment for the production of a cinematographic film or for television; or
  • to climb up or down a building or structure for cleaning, maintaining or repairing the building or structure.”

What is the Likely Penalty for Engaging in High Risk Activities?

For a first offence, and providing no significant danger was posed to any person or property (and no damage was caused) by the activity, a fine is likely to be the penalty imposed.

For repeated offending (for instance in the case of people who routinely and regularly engage in BASE jumping activities in urban areas), harsher penalties like community service or probation orders, and even sentences of imprisonment, are more likely to be imposed.

If you engage in unlawful unregulated high risk activity and need to be rescued as a result, in addition to imposing any other penalty a court is empowered to order that you pay the costs of your own rescue.

Can I Get a Ticket for Engaging in High Risk Activities?

No. A charge of unlawfully engaging in unregulated high risk activity must be heard and determined in a Magistrates Court.

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

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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