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Consorting with a convicted offender is an offence under section 93X of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison

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

  1. You were at least 14 years of age
  2. You habitually consorted with convicted offenders, and
  3. You did so after receiving an official warning for each of those offenders

Consort’ means to associate with, whether in person or by any other means, including by electronic or any other form of communication

‘Habitually consort’ means to consort with at least two convicted offenders, whether on the same or separate occasions, and with each offender on at least two occasions

A ‘convicted offender’ is a person convicted of an ‘indictable offence’ which is one that can be dealt with in a higher court. This is usually applies to offences which carry a maximum penalty of more than 2 years in prison.

An ‘official warning’ is one given by a police officer, whether orally or in writing, to the effect that:

  1. A certain person is a convicted offender, and
  2. Habitually consorting with that offender is an offence

An official warning ceases to have effect 2 years after it was given, or 6 months after it was given in the case of a person under the age of 18

The following forms of consorting are to be disregarded:

  • Consorting with family members
  • Consorting the course of employment, business, training, education, health, welfare, legal advice, or transitional, crisis or emergency accommodation
  • Consorting to comply with an order of a court, the Parole Authority or Corrective Services

The NSW Supreme Court has found that a “casual conversation on the street between two people” does not amount to consorting rather, there needs to be an “intentional seeking of something in the nature of companionship”

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