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Goods In Custody

What the law says

Section 527C(1)(a) states:

1. Any person who:

  • (a) has any thing in his or her custody;
  • (b) has any thing in the custody of another person;
  • (c)  has any thing in or on premises, whether belonging to or occupied by himself or herself or not, or whether that thing is there for his or her own use or the use of another; or
  • (d) gives custody of any thing to a person who is not lawfully entitled to possession of the thing,

which thing may be reasonably suspected of being stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained, is liable on conviction before a Local Court:

  • (a) if the thing is a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle part, to imprisonment for 1 year, or to a fine of 10 penalty units, or both, or
  • (b) in the case of any other thing, to imprisonment for 6 months, or to a fine of 5 penalty units, or both. 

(1A) A prosecution for an offence under subsection (1) involving the giving of custody of a motor vehicle to a person who is not lawfully entitled to possession of the motor vehicle may be commenced at any time within 2 years after the date of commission of the offence.

It is a sufficient defence to a prosecution for an offence under subsection (1) if the defendant satisfies the court that he or she had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that the thing referred to in the charge was stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.

In this section: motor vehicle  has the same meaning as it has in section 154AA. premises  includes any structure, building, vehicle, vessel, whether decked or undecked, or place, whether built on or not, and any part of any such structure, building, vehicle, vessel or place.

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.

1. The accused gave custody of a thing to a person who was not lawfully entitled to possession of the thing.
2. The thing may be reasonably suspected of being stolen or unlawfully obtained.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.

Maximum penalty

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Goods in Custody is a fine of five penalty units and/or six months imprisonment.

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is a summary matter and can only be finalised in the Local Court.

Possible defences

The Crimes Act provides a defence to the offence.  Section 527C(2) states:

527C(2)   It is a sufficient defence to a prosecution for an offence under subsection (1) if the defendant satisfies the court that he or she had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that the thing referred to in the charge was stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.

 

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