The Australian Crime Commission is a criminal intelligence organisation established by the government to investigate serious criminal activities, such as drug importation and production and criminal gangs.
The Crime Commission has wide investigative powers, including the power to seize anything that they believe to be used for criminal purposes. Alternatively, they can also seize property that they believe to be purchased using the proceeds of crime. This may include your house, car, or any other property.
The Crime Commission operates similarly to a Royal Commission – they have the power to obtain information in many ways to assist their investigations.
One of the most significant powers of the Crime Commission is their power to compel people to answer questions about suspected criminal activity. Generally, this process will begin with the Commission issuing you with a summons to attend the Crime Commission to answer questions. If you are issued with a summons, it is important to attend the Commission – if you don’t attend, a warrant could be issued for your arrest.
If the Crime Commission issues you with a summons, it’s important that you don’t disclose the summons to anyone else, otherwise you may be charged with contempt and face a maximum penalty of 8-9 months imprisonment.
When you attend the Crime Commission, a person known as an ‘examiner’ will ask you questions. It’s important to tell the truth – if you are caught lying you will face heavy penalties, including a fine of up to $22,000 or five years imprisonment. You may also be asked to produce personal documents.
There is no right to silence at the Crime Commission, which means that you might be forced to provide information to the Commission that may incriminate you. Because of the broad powers of the Crime Commission, it’s imperative that you seek legal advice and representation if you are ordered to attend the Crime Commission for questioning.
The Crime Commission is not a court; hence the examiner is not independent, unlike a judge or magistrate in the courts.
This means that when examining you, the Commission will attempt to obtain all relevant information from you. Often, you will be forced to provide information to the Commission that may incriminate you. They may also ask you to provide information about evidence that might incriminate you and other people – for example, they could ask you to tell them the location of equipment used to produce drugs.
This is where a good lawyer steps in. A good lawyer will accompany you to the Commission and raise objections to any misleading or improper questions which may potentially incriminate you.
At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, our expert defence lawyers have appeared countless times at the Crime Commission to provide the best possible assistance to our clients. We are dedicated to protecting our clients’ interests, and we will carefully observe all questioning and raise objections to any improper questions which may potentially incriminate you.
We are also uniquely experienced in defending clients against Supreme Court Applications brought by the Commission.
We regularly prepare financial statements and appear at Supreme Court Examination Hearings; which are hearings to determine whether a person’s assets are legitimately derived.
We have successfully defended Supreme Court Applications for forfeiture of property and have a mutually respectful relationship with Commission officers; which assists our clients in obtaining optimal results and reducing the prospect of criminal prosecutions.