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Computer Hacking And Misuse

What the law says

Sections 408E of the Criminal Code Queensland states:

  1. A person who uses a restricted computer without the consent of the computer's controller commits an offence.
  2. If the person causes or intends to cause detriment or damage, or gains or intends to gain a benefit, the person commits a crime.

If the person causes a detriment or damage or obtains a benefit for any person to the value of more than $5000.00, or intends to commit an indictable offence the person commits a crime.

What the police must prove

In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

The accused:

  1. Used;
  2. a restricted computer;
  3. without the consent of the persons controller.

The offence is aggravated in the following circumstances:

  • (A) The accused:
    • (1) caused or intended to cause;
    • (2) detriment or damage; or
  • (B) The accused:
    • (1) gained or intended to gain;
    • (2) a benefit;
    • (3) for any person.

The offence is further aggravated in the following circumstances:

  • (C) The accused:
    • (1) Causes detriment or damage, or obtains a benefit for any person;
    • (2) Which detriment, damage or benefit is of a value of more than $5000.00
  • (D) The accused intends to commit an indictable offence.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.

Maximum penalty

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Computer Hacking and Misuse

Section (1) is 2 years imprisonment.

Section (2) is 5 years imprisonment

Section (3) is 10 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear the matter

This matter may be indictable which means it is dealt with in the District Court or may on election be dealt with in the Magistrates Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. The accused did not use the computer;
  2. The computer was not restricted;
  3. The accused had the consent of the computer's controller;
  4. The accuse had a honest and reasonable belief they had the consent of the computer's controller to use it;
  5. The accused did not cause or intend to cause detriment or damage by their actions;
  6. The accused did not gain or intend to gain and benefit for him or herself or others.
  7. The accused did not cause more than $5000.00 damage, detriment or benefit.
  8. The accused did not intend to commit an indictable offence.

Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Computer Hacking and Misuse matters)

 

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