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Section 185A Customs Act 1901
Failing to Allow Boarding and Searching on High Seas

Section 185A of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) deals with Failing to Allow Boarding and Searching on High Seas and is extracted below.

Our exceptional criminal lawyers are vastly experienced and highly successful in defending Customs Act cases.

Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 for a free first appointment.

The Legislation

185A Boarding of certain ships on the high seas

(1) This section applies to a ship if:
(a) the ship may be boarded under subsection 184A(8) (boarding a ship of a country with which Australia has an agreement), and the ship is:
(i) outside the outer edge of the contiguous zone of Australia; and
(ii) outside the territorial sea of any country (including Australia); or
(b) the ship may be boarded under subsection 184A(9) (boarding a ship without nationality), and the ship is outside the territorial sea of a foreign country.

Powers to establish the identity of the ship
(2) An officer may:
(a) board the ship; and
(b) ask all persons found on the ship questions about:
(i) the identity of the ship; and
(ii) the voyage of the ship; and
(c) require all persons found on the ship to produce documents relevant to:
(i) finding out the identity of the ship; or
(ii) the voyage of the ship; and
(d) require the master or a member of the master’s crew to show the commander or a member of the commander’s crew readings of the ship’s navigation instruments relating to the voyage of the ship.

Note: Section 185AA gives power to search a person found on a ship that has been boarded under paragraph 185A(2)(a).

(2A) If one or more officers (other than officers who are members of the Australian Defence Force) board a ship under this section, the most senior of those officers who is an officer of Customs must:
(a) if requested to do so by the master of the ship; and
(b) as soon as reasonably practicable after boarding;
produce, for inspection by the master, written evidence of the fact that the officer is an officer within the meaning of this section.

(2B) If the officer fails to produce the evidence mentioned in subsection (2AA), no officer may remain on board the ship.

Officer discovers that the ship is an Australian ship
(3) If, after exercising the powers in subsection (2), the officer is satisfied that the ship is an Australian ship, then section 185 applies to the ship.

Note: If section 185 applies to a ship, then the officer will be able to exercise all of the powers under that section in relation to the ship.

Officer confirms that the ship is covered by an agreement etc.
(4) If:
(a) after exercising the powers in subsection (2), the officer is satisfied that the ship is a foreign ship that is entitled to fly the flag of a country; and
(b) Australia has an agreement or arrangement with that country which enables the exercise of Australian jurisdiction over ships of that country;
then the officer may exercise the powers prescribed by the regulations consistently with that agreement or arrangement.

Officer discovers that the ship is not covered by an agreement etc.
(5) If:
(a) after exercising the powers in subsection (2), the officer is satisfied that the ship is a foreign ship that is entitled to fly the flag of a country; and
(b) Australia does not have an agreement or arrangement with that country which enables the exercise of Australian jurisdiction over ships of that country;
then the officer must leave the ship as soon as is practicable.

Officer confirms that the ship is without nationality
(6) If, after exercising the powers in subsection (2), the officer is satisfied that the ship is a foreign ship that:
(a) is not entitled to fly the flag of a country; or
(b) has been flying the flag of a country that it is not entitled to fly; or
(c) has been flying the flag of more than one country;
then the officer may search the ship and seize without warrant any narcotic goods found on the ship.

(7) In this section:
officer has the meaning given by subsection 4(1), and includes:
(a) any person who is in command, or a member of the crew, of:
(i) a Commonwealth ship or Commonwealth aircraft referred to in section 184A in relation to the boarding under that section of a ship; or
(ii) a ship that was used under section 184B to chase the ship in relation to which this section applies; and
(b) a police officer; and
(c) a member of the Australian Defence Force.

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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