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Improper Interference With A Corpse

What the law says

Sections 236 (b) of the Criminal Code Queensland states:

Any person who, without lawful justification or excuse, the proof of which lies with the person-

Improperly or indecently interferes with, or offers any indignity to, any dead human body or human remains, whether buried or not; is guilty of a misdemeanour.

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. without lawful justification or excuse improperly;
  2. indecently interferes with or offers any indignity to;
  3. any human body or human remains whether buried or not.

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 Improper Interference with a Corpse is two years imprisonment.

Which court will hear the matter

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

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. Lawful excuse i.e. body donated to medical research, organ transplant or the victim of a crime
  2. Insanity
  3. Identification i.e. not the accused
  4. That the body was not dead
  5. Duress
  6. Necessity

Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Improper Interference with a Corpse matters)


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