Section 527C Crimes Act | Goods in Custody


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One of the most common offences that we regularly see before the courts is “goods in custody.”

Simply put, this refers to cases where you have property in your possession that is suspected of being stolen.

Though a goods in custody charge can attract penalties under the law, our highly skilled criminal law specialists can advise you of your options should you wish to fight the charges and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

Goods in custody offences are dealt with under section 527C of the Crimes Act.

That section says that in order to be found guilty of a goods in custody offence, the prosecution has to prove that you either:

  • Had something in your possession that was reasonably suspected of being stolen;
  • Made somebody else look after something on your behalf that was reasonably suspected of being stolen;
  • Had something on your premises (for example, in your house or car) that was reasonably suspected of being stolen – even if you did not live at the premises in question;
  • Gave another person custody of something to which they are not legally entitled.

The maximum penalties that can be imposed by the courts under section 527 depend on what the good in question is.

Where it is a motor vehicle or vessel, or a part of a motor vehicle or vessel, the maximum penalty is 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,110.

For all other items, the maximum penalty that can be imposed by the court is 6 months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $550.

Although these penalties are quite modest compared to penalties for other criminal offences, a goods in custody charge may potentially result in a conviction on your criminal record, which could affect your future employment and travel prospects.

However, our team highly experienced criminal lawyers can help you fight the charges to avoid a conviction, leaving you free to get on with your life.

The Legislation

Section 527C of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of “goods in custody” and reads as follows:

527C Persons unlawfully in possession of property

(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 the Local Court:

(a) if the thing is a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle part, or a vessel or a vessel 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.

(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.

(3) In this section:”motor vehicle” has the same meaning as it has in Division 5A of Part 4.”premises” includes any structure, building, vehicle, vessel or place, whether built on or not, and any part of any such structure, building, vehicle, vessel or place.”vessel” means a vessel within the meaning of the Marine Safety Act 1998.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, we regularly appear in “goods in custody” matters.

As a result, we have developed tried and tested methods of winning these cases through our experience over the years.

We can push to have the charges dropped in situations where you were not aware that the good was stolen, or honestly and reasonably believed that it was obtained legally.

Alternatively, if the matter proceeds to court, our lawyers will fight hard to protect your innocence by raising all possible defences to the charges.

In cases where you simply want to plead guilty, we can help you achieve the most lenient penalty by presenting your case in the most positive light.

Our lawyers are highly skilled at presenting effective sentencing submissions and frequently obtain section 10s for our clients in these matters.

A section 10 is essentially the best penalty you can get if convicted of an offence – it simply means that while you are found guilty of the offence, you do not receive a conviction on your criminal record.

This is a desirable outcome if you are worried about how a criminal record could affect your life.

Our dedicated lawyers are passionate about protecting our clients’ liberty – this is reflected in our proven track record of obtaining outstanding outcomes in these types of matters.

So for the best result in your “goods in custody” matter, get Sydney’s most trusted criminal lawyers on your side.

Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference with us.