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Section 474.47 Criminal Code Act 1995
Using a Carriage Service to Incite Property Damage or Theft on Agricultural Land

Using a carriage service to incite property damage or theft on agricultural land is an offence under section 474.47 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You transmitted, made available, published or otherwise distributed material
  2. You did so using a carriage service
  3. You intended by doing so to incite another person to unlawfully damage or destroy property or to commit theft, and
  4. The incited damage, destruction or theft was on agricultural land.

A ‘carriage service’ is ‘a service for carrying communications by means of guided and/or unguided electromagnetic energy’, which includes telephone calls, text messages and internet transmissions such as emails and social media messaging.

‘Theft’ is defined as dishonestly appropriating another’s property with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of that property.

The determination of ‘dishonesty’ is a matter for the trier of fact, which is the magistrate in a local court hearing or the jury in a district court jury trial.

A ‘primary production business’ is a business of grazing, operating animal feedlots, dairy farming, poultry farming, forestry, bee‑keeping, viticulture, aquaculture, growing fruit, vegetables, nuts or crops, farming animals for the purpose of producing meat or meat by‑products, processing fish, wood or wood fibre, or operating an abattoir, livestock sale yard or registered establishment (within the meaning of the Export Control Act 2020).

For the purposes of the definition, it is immaterial that part of the land was used for a residential purpose or for a business that was not a primary production business.

You are not guilty of the offence if the material related to a news or current affairs report that was:

  1. In the public interest, and
  2. Made by a person working in a professional capacity as a journalist.

You are also not guilty if you are not subject to civil or criminal liability due to the operation of a law of the Commonwealth, or a state or territory, or if you were an employee of an emergency service or national relay service provider and your conduct was in good faith in the course of your duties, or if your conduct was protected by the constitutional doctrine of implied freedom of political communication.

Duress is a defence to the charge.

The Legislation

474.47 Using a Carriage Service to Incite Property Damage or Theft on Agricultural Land

(1) A person (the offender ) commits an offence if:
(a) the offender transmits, makes available, publishes or otherwise distributes material; and
(b) the offender does so using a carriage service; and
(c) the offender does so with the intention of inciting another person to:
(i) unlawfully damage property on agricultural land; or
(ii) unlawfully destroy property on agricultural land; or
(iii) commit theft of property on agricultural land.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to material if the material relates to a news report, or a current affairs report, that:
(a) is in the public interest; and
(b) is made by a person working in a professional capacity as a journalist.

(2A) In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (1), the defendant does not bear an evidential burden in relation to the matters in subsection (2), despite subsection 13.3(3).

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to conduct engaged in by a person if, as a result of the operation of a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory, the person is not subject to any civil or criminal liability for the conduct.

Note 1: The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 provides that an individual is not subject to any civil or criminal liability for making a public interest disclosure.

Note 2: Section 1317AB of the Corporations Act 2001 provides that a person who makes a disclosure that qualifies for protection under Part 9.4AAA of that Act is not subject to any civil or criminal liability for making the disclosure.

Note 3: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3)).

(4) Subsection (3) does not limit section 10.5 (lawful authority).

When a person commits theft

(5) For the purposes of this section, a person commits theft of property if:
(a) the property belongs to another person; and
(b) the person dishonestly appropriates the property with the intention of permanently depriving the other person of the property.

(6) An expression used in subsection (5) and in Chapter 7 has the same meaning in that subsection as it has in that Chapter.

(7) In a prosecution for an offence against this section, the determination of dishonesty is a matter for the trier of fact.

(8) Sections 131.2 to 131.11 apply (with appropriate modifications) in determining whether a person commits theft of property (within the meaning of this section).

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 offices, 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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