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Embezzlement by a Public Servant

Embezzlement By a Public Servant is an offence under section 160 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

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

  1. You were employed in the public service
  2. You embezzled any property intrusted in you by your employer or secreted, removed, applied or disposed of such property, and
  3. You did so fraudulently

To ‘embezzle’ is to misappropriate property belonging to your employer

The element of ‘fraud’ requires the prosecution to prove that:

You dishonestly and by a deception created a financial advantage over the property of another, or caused them a financial disadvantage, and your actions were intentional or reckless.

A defence to the charge is having a ‘claim of right’ over the property which means you genuinely believed you were legally entitled to it.

Duress and necessity are also defences to the charge.

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