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What the law says

Sections 419 of the Criminal Code Queensland states:

    1. Any person who enters or is in the dwelling of another with intent to commit an indictable offence in the dwelling commits a crime with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
    2. If the offender enters the dwelling by means of any break, he or she is liable to imprisonment for life.
    3. If-
      • (a) the offence is committed in the night; or
      • (b) the offender-
        • (i) uses or threatens to use actual violence; or
        • (ii) is or pretends to be armed with a dangerous or offensive weapon, or instrument or noxious substance; or
        • (iii) is in company with 1 or more persons; or
        • (iv) damages, or threats or attempts to damage, any property;

the offender is liable to imprisonment for life.

  1. Any person who enters or is in the dwelling of another and commits an indictable offence in the dwelling 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. entered the dwelling or premises of the complainant;
  2. that at the time the accused entered the dwelling he intended to commit an indictable offence.
    Circumstances of Aggravations:
  • (a) Break
    A person who breaks any part, whether external or internal, of a dwelling or any premises, or opens, by unlocking, pulling, pushing, lifting, or any other means whatever, any door, window, shutter, cellar, flap, or other thing, intended to close or cover an opening in a dwelling or any premises, or an opening giving passage from one part of a dwelling or any premises, or an opening giving passage  from one part of the dwelling to another, is said to break the dwelling or premises.
  • (b) “In the night” means between (9pm and 6am)
  • (c) “Uses or threatens to use actual violence.
  • Actual violence means no more than physical force which is real and not merely threatened or contemplated.
  • (d) Armed
    To be armed with a weapon means that the defendant must be in possession of a weapon and the weapon must be available to immediate use as a weapon.
  • (e) “In company”.

Being  ‘in company’ requires proof that the defendant and one or more other person or persons be physically present for the common purpose of entering the dwelling or premises.

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 Burglary is life imprisonment depending of the circumstances  of the offence.

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is indictable which is dealt with in the District Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. Duress
  2. Necessity
  3. Intoxication
  4. Identification -ie Not the accused person
  5. Property was not entered by breaking the seal
  6. Honest claim of right
  7. Offence did not occur in the night time
  8. No evidence of circumstances of aggravation ( not armed in company

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