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.
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).
Note : Concealing a child abuse offence is an offence under section 316A. A section 316A offence can only be committed by an adult.
Choosing the right lawyer to defend you in your “concealing a serious indictable offence” case can be difficult.
However, having the right legal team on your side can make all the difference when it comes to securing a positive outcome in your case.
At Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, we have considerable experience fighting and winning these types of cases.
As a law firm specialising in criminal law, our expert lawyers have the knowledge and skills necessary to secure the best possible outcome in your case.
In many cases, our outstanding lawyers are able to have charges dropped at an early stage by carefully scrutinising all the evidence and identifying any problems with the prosecution case.
We can then write to the prosecution explaining your side of the story and asking to have the charges dropped.
Should the prosecution refuse to drop the charges, our senior defence team will give you the best possible representation in court by presenting all favourable evidence in a compelling manner and examining all witnesses in order to cast doubt on the prosecution case.
In some cases, we have even been able to have costs awarded in favour of our clients where they have suffered as a result of wrongful accusations.
Our lawyers can also help you obtain a lenient penalty where you simply wish to plead guilty; in these circumstances we can prepare effective sentencing submissions which highlight any positive factors in your case.
For the best outcome in your “conceal serious indictable offence” matter, trust the experts at Sydney Criminal Lawyers.
Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference with us.