Section 308C Crimes Act 1900| Unauthorised Computer Function with Intent


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Over the past few years, the law has had to adapt to keep up with changing technologies.

A raft of new computer-related offences are now incorporated in the Crimes Act.

For example, section 308C of the Crimes Act makes it an offence to perform any unauthorised computer function with the intention of committing a serious indictable offence, or facilitating the commission of a serious indictable offence.

A ‘serious indictable offence’ is any offence which is serious enough that the prosecution may elect to take the matter up into the District Court, a higher jurisdictional court, but not quite so serious that it must be dealt with so automatically.

An ‘unauthorised computer function’ refers to either:

  • The unauthorised access of data held in a computer;
  • The unauthorised modification of data held in a computer or;
  • The unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer

To be found guilty of this offence, the prosecution must also prove that you knew that the computer function in question was unauthorised.

You may also be charged with this offence even if it is technically impossible to commit the serious indictable offence, or if the serious indictable offence alleged is to be committed at a later time.

If found guilty, you will face the same maximum penalty that applies for the serious indictable offence in question.

This means that the applicable penalty will vary from situation to situation.

While being charged with a serious computer offence can have a negative impact on your life and future, our lawyers can give you the best possible advice about your options and how to fight the charges.

The Legislation

308C Unauthorised access, modification or impairment with intent to commit serious indictable offence

(1) A person who causes any unauthorised computer function:

(a) knowing it is unauthorised, and

(b) with the intention of committing a serious indictable offence, or facilitating the commission of a serious indictable offence (whether by the person or by another person),

is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: The maximum penalty applicable if the person had committed, or facilitated the commission of, the serious indictable offence in this jurisdiction.

(2) For the purposes of this section, an “unauthorised computer function” is:

(a) any unauthorised access to data held in any computer, or

(b) any unauthorised modification of data held in any computer, or

(c) any unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from any computer.

(3) For the purposes of this section, a “serious indictable offence” includes an offence in any other jurisdiction that would be a serious indictable offence if committed in this jurisdiction.

(4) A person may be found guilty of an offence against this section:

(a) even if committing the serious indictable offence concerned is impossible, or

(b) whether the serious indictable offence is to be committed at the time of the unauthorised conduct or at a later time.

(5) It is not an offence to attempt to commit an offence against this section.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

Having the right legal team on your side can make all the difference when it comes to fighting a serious computer-related offence such as ‘performing an unauthorised computer function.’

Our lawyers have considerable experience fighting and winning serious computer cases, and can give you the advice you need when it comes to securing a positive result in your case.

Our lawyers fight hard in every case to have the charges dropped at an early stage so that our clients can get on with their lives as quickly as possible.

We are frequently able to obtain these outstanding results thanks to the efforts of our lawyers, who take the time in each case to meticulously examine the evidence in order to identify any problems with the prosecution case.

Where problems are found, our lawyers can write to the prosecution asking for the charges to be dropped on this basis.

This often means that our clients are spared the time and expense of a defended hearing or criminal trial.

However, should your case proceed to court, you can rest assured that our expert senior lawyers will fiercely defend your rights and interests.

Our fearless advocates will go the extra mile to win your case by raising all possible defences, along with all favourable evidence, in a compelling manner.

Our lawyers are skilled at the art of cross-examination and will deconstruct any prosecution witness testimony in a strategic manner.

We can also assist should you decide to plead guilty to the charges – in these cases, our lawyers will prepare effective sentencing submissions which highlight the need for a lenient penalty.

Our ability to obtain outstanding results in even the most serious computer matters is unmatched.

For the best defence in your ‘performing an unauthorised computer function’ case, get Sydney’s criminal law experts on your side today.

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