Crimes Amendment (Consorting and Organised Crime) Bill 2012

  • Assented on 14/03/2012 - Act No 3 of 2012 (GG.28, 16/03/12, p.695).

Long Title

An Act to amend the Crimes Act 1900 in relation to consorting and organised crime; and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Explanatory Notes

The object of this Bill is to amend the Crimes Act 1900:
(a) to create a new offence of firing at a dwelling-house, with a higher penalty
than the existing general offence for firing at a dwelling-house, where the
offence occurs in the course of an organised criminal activity, and
(b) to change the mental element for the offence of participating in a criminal
group so that it is no longer necessary to prove that the defendant knowingly
participated in the criminal group and knowingly or recklessly contributed to
the occurrence of a criminal activity, and
(c) to create new offences relating to participation in criminal groups, with higher
penalties than the existing general offence for participating in a criminal
group, where the defendant directed the activities of the criminal group or the
activities of the criminal group were organised and on-going, and
(d) to make it an offence to receive a material benefit from a criminal group that
is derived from its criminal activities, and
(e) to replace and clarify the offence of consorting with convicted offenders.
The Bill also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.
Outline of provisions
Clause 1 sets out the name (also called the short title) of the proposed Act.
Clause 2 provides for the commencement of the proposed Act on a day or days to be appointed by proclamation.
Schedule 1 Amendment of Crimes Act 1900 No 40
Firing at dwelling-houses
Schedule 1 [1] provides for a new offence of firing a firearm at a dwelling-house or other building in the course of an organised criminal activity, with reckless disregard for the safety of any person. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 16 years. The maximum penalty for the existing general offence of firing at a dwelling-house or building, with reckless disregard for the safety of any person, is imprisonment for 14 years.
Schedule 1 [2] provides for alternative verdicts in relation to prosecutions for the
new offence.
Participation in criminal groups
The Crimes Act 1900 contains several offences relating to participation in criminal
groups.
Schedule 1 [4] changes the mental element for the existing general offence of
participating in a criminal group. At present, it is necessary to prove that the
defendant knew that the group was a criminal group and knew, or was reckless as to whether, his or her participation contributed to the occurrence of a criminal activity.
As a result of the amendment, it will be necessary only to prove that the defendant knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the group was a criminal group and knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that his or her participation in the criminal group contributed to the occurrence of a criminal activity.
Schedule 1 [4] also provides for a new offence (with a higher penalty than the
existing general offence of participating in a criminal group) of participating in a
criminal group by directing any of its activities. In this case, knowledge that the
group is a criminal group, and knowledge or recklessness as to whether the
participation contributes to the occurrence of a criminal activity, is required. The
maximum penalty is imprisonment for 10 years.
Schedule 1 [5] provides for a new offence (with a higher penalty than the existing general offence of participating in a criminal group) of participating in a criminal group whose activities are organised and on-going. Knowledge that the group is a criminal group, and knowledge or recklessness as to whether the participation contributes to the occurrence of a criminal activity, is required. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 15 years.
Schedule 1 [7] provides for alternative verdicts in relation to prosecutions for the
new offences.
Receiving benefits derived from criminal activities of criminal groups
Schedule 1 [6] makes it an offence to receive from a criminal group a material
benefit derived from the criminal activities of the criminal group, knowing that the
group is a criminal group and knowing, or being reckless as to whether, the benefit is derived from criminal activities of the criminal group. It is not necessary to prove participation in the criminal group. The offence carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 5 years.
Schedule 1 [8] makes the offence an alternative verdict on a charge of participating in a criminal group.
Schedule 1 [3] is a consequential amendment.
Consorting with convicted offenders
Schedule 1 [9] provides for a new offence of consorting with convicted offenders.
A person will be guilty of the new offence if the person:
(a) habitually consorts with convicted offenders, and
(b) consorts with those convicted offenders after having been given an official
warning in relation to each of those convicted offenders.
A convicted offender is any person who has been convicted of an indictable offence (excluding the offence of consorting). Spent convictions will also be excluded by operation of the Criminal Records Act 1991, section 12.
The new offence makes it clear that:
(a) habitual consorting requires the defendant, at a minimum, to have consorted
with at least 2 convicted offenders and to have consorted with each of those
offenders on at least 2 occasions, and
(b) the defendant is guilty of an offence only if the defendant consorts with
convicted offenders after having been warned by a police officer that each
convicted offender is a convicted offender and that consorting with a
convicted offender is an offence.
The existing consorting offence (which is repealed by Schedule 1 [10]) does not
describe what is meant by habitual consorting, and does not require the defendant to have been given an official warning.
The new offence clarifies the circumstances in which consorting is permitted, such
as between family members or in the course of lawful employment, the lawful
operation of a business, training or education.
The new offence also makes it clear that consorting can occur in person or by any
other means, including by electronic or other form of communication.
The new offence is an indictable offence with a maximum penalty of imprisonment
for 3 years, or a fine of 150 penalty units, or both.
Schedule 1 [11] provides for the Ombudsman to review the operation of the new offence at the end of the period of 2 years from its commencement.
Schedule 2 Consequential amendment of other Acts
Schedule 2 makes amendments to other Acts that are consequential on the
amendments described above.

Note: If this Bill is not modified, these Explanatory Notes would reflect the Bill as passed in the House. If the Bill has been amended by Committee, these Explanatory Notes may not necessarily reflect the Bill as passed.

Digest

See Digest 2 of 2012, dated 21/02/2012 for an examination of this Bill by the Legislation Review Committee.

Agreement in Principle/Second Reading Speeches

To download, click the PDF icon(s) below.

Legislative Assembly Minister's
"Agreement in Principle" Speech
Legislative Council Minister's 2R Speech
CRIMES AMENDMENT.pdf Crimes Amdt (Consorting) - LC 2nd Read.pdf

Amendments for Consideration

Legislative Assembly Legislative Council
c2012-025
c2012-026

Tracking through the Houses

  • Initially introduced in the Legislative Assembly
  • Suspension of standing and sessional orders in the Legislative Assembly: 15/02/2012 - All Stages in the LA
  • Legislative Assembly: Legislative Council:
    • Member with Carriage: Smith, Greg
    • Notice of Motion: Tue 14 Feb 2012
    • Introduced: Tue 14 Feb 2012
    • "Agreement in Principle" Speech: Tue 14 Feb 2012
    • Agreed to in Principle LA: Wed 15 Feb 2012
    • Date Declared by Assistant Speaker without amendment: Wed 15 Feb 2012
    • Member with Carriage: Gallacher, Michael
    • Introduced: Wed 15 Feb 2012 am
    • First Reading: Wed 15 Feb 2012 am
    • Minister's 2R Speech: Wed 7 Mar 2012
    • Second Reading: Wed 7 Mar 2012
    • Date Committed: Wed 7 March 2012
    • Report Adopted: Wed 7 Mar 2012
    • Third Reading: Wed 7 Mar 2012
    • Date Passed w'out amdt: Wed 7 Mar 2012
    • Returned to LA: Wed 7 Mar 2012
    • Passed Parliament: Wed 7 Mar 2012

    Text of Bill as passed by both Houses

    b2012-005-d15-House.pdf

    Assent

    • Assented: Wed 14 Mar 2012