Section 7 Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2012 | Declarations by Judges


Print

Are you concerned about your group being declared a ‘criminal organisation’ under the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act?

If you believe that your group may be subject to a declaration in the near future, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the law.

Section 7 of the Act sets out the circumstances in which a court may make a declaration that a group is a ‘criminal organisation.’

A court may only make a declaration where it is satisfied that the group in question:

  • Is an organisation;
  • Has members within NSW that associate for the purpose of planning, organising, facilitating, supporting or engaging in serious criminal activity and;
  • The continued existence of the organisation poses an unacceptable risk to the safety, welfare or order of the community or the state.

Section 7 also lists the information that the court can consider in deciding whether or not to issue a declaration.

This may include the following:

  • Information which suggests a link between the group and serious criminal activity;
  • Convictions against former or current members of the group in NSW;
  • Information which suggests the group’s members have been or are involved in serious criminal activity;
  • Information suggesting an overseas or interstate chapter of the group is involved in serious criminal activity.

Declarations can impose onerous consequences upon groups, and it is important to be aware of how a declaration may impact you.

As Sydney’s leading criminal defence team, we can assist you in understanding the law and how a declaration may affect your life.

We can also advise you of any steps to take in fighting to have the declaration revoked and can assist you in preparing responses to declarations.

The Legislation

7 Court may make a declaration

(1) The Court may make a declaration that the respondent is a criminal organisation for the purposes of this Act if the Court is satisfied that:

(a) the respondent is an organisation, and

(b) members of the organisation in New South Wales associate for the purpose of organising, planning, facilitating, supporting or engaging in serious criminal activity, and

(c) the continued existence of the organisation is an unacceptable risk to the safety, welfare or order of the community in this State.

(2) In considering whether or not to make a declaration, the Court must have regard to:

(a) the following information before the Court:

(i) information suggesting a link exists between the organisation and serious criminal activity in New South Wales,

(ii) any conviction for current or former members of the organisation in New South Wales,

(iii) information suggesting current or former members of the organisation in New South Wales have been, or are, involved in serious criminal activity, whether directly or indirectly and whether or not the involvement resulted in convictions,

(iv) information suggesting members of an interstate or overseas chapter or branch of the organisation associate for the purpose of organising, planning, facilitating, supporting or engaging in serious criminal activity, and

(b) anything else the Court considers relevant.

(3) A declaration may be made whether or not the respondent is present or makes submissions.

(4) The Court may, for the purpose of making the declaration, be satisfied that members of an organisation associate for the purpose of organising, planning, facilitating, supporting or engaging in serious criminal activity:

(a) whether all the members in New South Wales associate for that purpose or only some of the members, and

(b) whether members in New South Wales associate for that purpose for the same serious criminal activities or different ones, and

(c) whether or not the members in New South Wales also associate for other purposes.

(5) For the purposes of subsection (4) (a), the Court may act on the basis of satisfaction that only some of the members in New South Wales associate for the purpose mentioned in the subsection only if the Court is satisfied that those members constitute a significant group within the organisation in New South Wales, either:

(a) in terms of their numbers, or

(b) in terms of their capacity to influence the organisation or its members in New South Wales.

(6) A declared organisation is taken to include any organisation into which the members substantially restructure themselves with or without dissolving the organisation named in the declaration.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, we understand that having your group declared a ‘criminal organisation’ can be damaging to your reputation and freedom.

However, our fearless advocates will fight to protect your rights and interests.

We are passionate about protecting your civil liberties and will fight for you every step of the way – from explaining the impact of a declaration, to filing a response to the application and even seeking to have the declaration revoked.

We can advise you of your options in fighting the declaration, and can assist you in obtaining any information and documentation that may support your case.

For the best possible defence in your matter, contact us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first consultation with us today.