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Section 316 Crimes Act 1900
Concealing Serious Indictable Offence

If you have information which might assist in a criminal investigation or the prosecution of an offender, you are obliged to tell the police.

If you fail to do so, you could face charges under s 316 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

That section creates the offence of “concealing serious indictable offence.”

Section 316 says that where you know or believe that an offence has been committed, and where you have information that may be of “material assistance” in finding or securing the conviction of the offender, you must disclose the information to the police.

If you do not, you could face a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment.

Section 316 only applies to information regarding “serious indictable offences,” that is, offences which must be dealt with in a higher court such as the District Court and which carry a penalty of at least 5 years imprisonment.

You could also face a heavier penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment if you accept a benefit for yourself or for another person in exchange for concealing a serious indictable offence.

However, you cannot be charged under section 316 where the information that you possessed was obtained in the course of practicing a profession or vocation – for example, if you are a lawyer or doctor who is bound by confidentiality clauses.

If you’ve been charged with an offence under section 316, our highly experienced lawyers can assist you in fighting the matter in court or avoiding the harsh penalties imposed by the law.

The Legislation

Section 316 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) deals with the offence of “committing a serious indictable offence” and reads as follows:

316 Concealing serious indictable offence

(1) An adult:

(a) who knows or believes that a serious indictable offence has been committed by another person, and

(b) who knows or believes that he or she has information that might be of material assistance in securing the apprehension of the offender or the prosecution or conviction of the offender for that offence, and

(c) who fails without reasonable excuse to bring that information to the attention of a member of the NSW Police Force or other appropriate authority,

is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for:

(a) 2 years–if the maximum penalty for the serious indictable offence is not more than 10 years imprisonment, or

(b) 3 years–if the maximum penalty for the serious indictable offence is more than 10 years imprisonment but not more than 20 years imprisonment, or

(c) 5 years–if the maximum penalty for the serious indictable offence is more than 20 years imprisonment.

(2) A person who solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit for the person or any other person in consideration for doing anything that would be an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for:

(a) 5 years–if the maximum penalty for the serious indictable offence is not more than 10 years imprisonment, or

(b) 6 years–if the maximum penalty for the serious indictable offence is more than 10 years imprisonment but not more than 20 years imprisonment, or

(c) 7 years–if the maximum penalty for the serious indictable offence is more than 20 years imprisonment.

(3) It is not an offence against subsection (2) merely to solicit, accept or agree to accept the making good of loss or injury caused by an offence or the making of reasonable compensation for that loss or injury.

(4) A prosecution for an offence against subsection (1) is not to be commenced against a person without the approval of the Director of Public Prosecutions if the knowledge or belief that an offence has been committed was formed or the information referred to in the subsection was obtained by the person in the course of practising or following a profession, calling or vocation prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this subsection.

(5) The regulations may prescribe a profession, calling or vocation as referred to in subsection (4).

(6) In this section:

“serious indictable offence” does not include a child abuse offence (within the meaning of section 316A).

Note : Concealing a child abuse offence is an offence under section 316A. A section 316A offence can only be committed by an adult.

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

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