Intentional espionage on behalf of foreign principal is an offence under section 91.8(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
- You dealt with information or an article
- You intended by your conduct to prejudice Australia’s national security, or to advantage the national security of a foreign country
- You were reckless as to whether your conduct, or the conduct of another person, involved the commission of an espionage offence, and
- Your conduct was on behalf of, or in collaboration with, a foreign principal or a person acting on behalf of a foreign principal.
To ‘deal with’ includes to receive, obtain, collect, possess, make a record, copy, alter, conceal, communicate, publish or make available.
To ‘make available’ includes to:
- Place it somewhere it can be accessed by another person
- Give it to an intermediary to give to an intended recipient, or
- Describe how to obtain or facilitate access to it.
An ‘article’ includes anything, substance or material.
‘National security’ is defined as:
- Defence of the country
- Protection of the country or part thereof
- Protection of the country’s people
- Protection of the integrity of the country’s territory or borders from serious threats
- Carrying out the country’s responsibilities towards any other country in terms of protecting territory or borders, or preventing espionage, sabotage, terrorism or political violence against that country
- The country’s political, military or economic relations with another country
- Protection against espionage, sabotage, terrorism or political violence in Australia
- Protection against obstruction, hinderance or interference with the defence force, or
- Foreign interference.
‘Prejudice’ does not include embarrassment alone.
‘Advantage’ does not include conduct that benefits Australia at least as much as the foreign country.
‘Espionage offences’ include:
Section 91.1(1) – Intentionally providing national security information to foreign principal
Section 91.2 – intentionally providing information to a foreign principal, and
Section 91.3 – Providing security classified information
A ‘foreign principal’ is defined as:
- A foreign government principal
- A foreign political organisation
- A public international organisation
- A terrorist organisation, or
- An entity or organisation owned, directed or controlled by a foreign principal/s.
You are not guilty of the offence if you are able to establish, ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that you dealt with the information or article:
- In accordance with a law of the Commonwealth
- In accordance with an arrangement or agreement to which the Commonwealth is a party and which allows for the exchange of information or articles
- In your capacity as a public official, or
- In circumstances where the information or article has already been communicated or made available to the public with the authority of the Commonwealth.
Duress and self-defence are also defences to the charge.
If you require Expert Legal Advice from an Experienced Criminal Defence Lawyer for your Espionage matter, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers® today on (02) 9261 8881.
Intention as to national security
(1) A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person deals with information or an article; and
(b) the person intends that the person’s conduct will:
(i) prejudice Australia’s national security; or
(ii) advantage the national security of a foreign country; and
(c) the person is reckless as to whether the conduct involves the commission, by the person or any other person, of an offence against Subdivision A (espionage); and
(d) any of the following circumstances exists:
(i) the conduct is engaged in on behalf of, or in collaboration with, a foreign principal or a person acting on behalf of a foreign principal;
(ii) the conduct is directed, funded or supervised by a foreign principal or a person acting on behalf of a foreign principal.
Note: An alternative verdict may be available for an offence against this subsection (see section 93.5).
Penalty: Imprisonment for 25 years.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.