Section 52B Crimes Act | Dangerous Navigation


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The Legislation

Section 52B of the Crimes Act is the offence of Dangerous Navigation and is extracted below.

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52B Dangerous navigation: substantive matters

(1) Dangerous navigation occasioning death A person is guilty of the offence of dangerous navigation occasioning death if the vessel navigated by the person is involved in an impact occasioning the death of another person and the person navigating the vessel was, at the time of the impact, navigating the vessel:
(a) under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug, or
(b) at a speed dangerous to another person or persons, or
(c) in a manner dangerous to another person or persons.
A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) Aggravated dangerous navigation occasioning death A person is guilty of the offence of aggravated dangerous navigation occasioning death if the person commits the offence of dangerous navigation occasioning death in circumstances of aggravation. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

(3) Dangerous navigation causing grievous bodily harm A person is guilty of the offence of dangerous navigation causing grievous bodily harm if the vessel navigated by the person is involved in an impact occasioning grievous bodily harm to another person and the person navigating the vessel was, at the time of the impact, navigating the vessel:
(a) under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug, or
(b) at a speed dangerous to another person or persons, or
(c) in a manner dangerous to another person or persons.
A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

(4) Aggravated dangerous navigation occasioning grievous bodily harm A person is guilty of the offence of aggravated dangerous navigation occasioning grievous bodily harm if the person commits the offence of dangerous navigation occasioning grievous bodily harm in circumstances of aggravation. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 11 years.

(5) When vessel is involved in impact–generally For the purposes of this section, the circumstances in which a vessel is involved in an impact occasioning the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, a person include if the death or harm is occasioned through any of the following:
(a) the vessel overturning or running aground while the person is being conveyed in or on the vessel (whether as a passenger or otherwise),
(b) an impact between any object and the vessel while the person is being conveyed in or on that vessel (whether as a passenger or otherwise),
(c) an impact between the person and the vessel,
(d) the impact of the vessel with another vessel or an object in, on or near which the person is at the time of the impact,
(e) an impact with anything on, or attached to, the vessel,
(f) an impact with anything that was in motion through falling from the vessel,
(g) the person falling from the vessel, or being thrown or ejected from the vessel, while being conveyed in or on the vessel (whether as a passenger or otherwise),
(h) an impact between any object (including the water and the ground) and the person, as a consequence of the person (or any part of the person) being or protruding outside the vessel, while the person is being conveyed in or on the vessel (whether as a passenger or otherwise).

(6) When vessel is involved in causing other impacts For the purposes of this section, a vessel is also involved in an impact occasioning the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, a person if the death or harm is occasioned through the vessel causing an impact between other vessels or between another vessel and any object or person or causing another vessel to overturn or run aground.

(7) Circumstances of aggravation In this section, “circumstances of aggravation” means any circumstances at the time of the impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm in which:
(a) the prescribed concentration of alcohol was present in the accused’s breath or blood, or
(b) the accused was navigating the vessel at a speed that exceeds the speed limit (if any) applicable to the person navigating the vessel, or to the navigable waters, on which the vessel was navigated at the time of the impact, or
(c) the accused was navigating the vessel in an attempt to escape pursuit by a police officer, or
(d) the accused’s ability to navigate was very substantially impaired by the fact that the accused was under the influence of a drug (other than intoxicating liquor) or a combination of drugs (whether or not intoxicating liquor was part of that combination).

(8) Defences It is a defence to any charge under this section if the death or grievous bodily harm occasioned by the impact was not in any way attributable (as relevant):
(a) to the fact that the person charged was under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug or a combination of drugs, or
(b) to the speed at which the vessel was navigated, or
(c) to the manner in which the vessel was navigated.

(9) Definitions In this section:”drug” has the same meaning as it has in the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999.”object” includes a pier, wharf, jetty, pontoon, buoy, breakwater, bridge, support, mooring post or platform, navigation aid, retaining wall, marina, boatshed, slipway or swimming enclosure.”prescribed concentration of alcohol” means a concentration of 0.15 grams or more of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood.”vessel” means a vessel within the meaning of the Marine Safety Act 1998.

52BA Dangerous navigation: procedural matters

(1) Presumption as to intoxication For the purposes of section 52B, the accused is conclusively presumed to be under the influence of liquor if the prosecution proves that the prescribed concentration of alcohol was present in the accused’s breath or blood at the time of the impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm.

(2) Evidence of intoxication For the purposes of section 52B, evidence may be given of the concentration of alcohol present in the accused’s blood at the time of the impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm as determined by a blood analysis carried out in accordance with Schedule 1 to the Marine Safety Act 1998.

(3) Time of intoxication A concentration of alcohol determined by the means referred to in subsection (2) is taken to be the concentration of alcohol in the accused’s blood at the time of the impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm:
(a) if the blood sample that was analysed was taken within 2 hours after the impact, and
(b) unless the accused proves that the concentration of alcohol in the accused’s blood at that time was less than the prescribed concentration of alcohol.

(4) Alternative verdicts If on the trial of a person who is indicted for murder or manslaughter or for an offence under section 54 the jury is satisfied that the person is guilty of an offence under section 52B, it may find the accused guilty of the offence under section 52B, and the accused is liable to punishment accordingly.

(5) Question of aggravation If on the trial of a person for an offence under section 52B (2) or (4) the jury is not satisfied that the accused is guilty of the offence charged, but is satisfied on the evidence that the accused is guilty of an offence under section 52B (1) or (3), it may find that the accused is guilty of the offence under section 52B (1) or (3), and the accused is liable to punishment accordingly.

(6) Double jeopardy This section does not take away the liability of any person to be prosecuted for or found guilty of murder, manslaughter or any other offence or affect the punishment that may be imposed for any such offence. However, a person who:
(a) has been convicted or acquitted of an offence under section 52B cannot be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter or for any other offence under this Act on the same, or substantially the same, facts, or
(b) has been convicted or acquitted of murder or manslaughter or of any other offence under this Act cannot be prosecuted for an offence under section 52B on the same, or substantially the same, facts.

(7) Definition In this section:”prescribed concentration of alcohol” means a concentration of 0.15 grams or more of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood.