Have you been charged with Commonwealth Theft?
Commonwealth Theft is a serious charge, so it is important that you consider possible defences that may be available to you.
Can the prosecution establish all the elements of the offence? Do you have a legal claim to the property alleged to be stolen? Were you mistaken in believing you were allowed to take the property? Was the property identifiable as belonging to the Commonwealth?
These are just some of the questions you will need to consider. Seek expert legal advice as soon as possible.
For more information on the charge of Commonwealth Theft, please read below.
Section 131.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
The prosecution must prove:
The defendant dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of the property; and
The property belongs to a Commonwealth entity.
The maximum penalty
10 years imprisonment.
Where will my case be heard?
A charge for Commonwealth Theft will most likely be heard in the Magistrates’ Court, unless the value of the property is over $100,000 in which case the charge may be heard in the County or Supreme Court.
What to do next
As a charge of Commonwealth Theft can result in a lengthy imprisonment if proven, it is vital that you make an appointment with our expert criminal lawyers as soon as possible to ensure adequate time to prepare your defence.
Section 131.1 Theft
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of the property; and
(b) the property belongs to a Commonwealth entity.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.
(2) For the purposes of this Code, an offence against subsection (1) is to be known as the offence of theft.
(3) Absolute liability applies to the paragraph (1)(b) element of the offence of theft.
(4) Section 15.4 (extended geographical jurisdiction—category D) applies to an offence against subsection (1).