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Hindering an Investigation

Hindering an investigation is an offence under section 315 of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison.

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

  1. You did any thing to hinder in any way:

(A) The investigation of a serious indictable offence committed by another, or

(B) the discovery of evidence about a serious indictable offence committed by another, or

(C) the arrest of another who committed a serious indictable offence, and

  1. You did so intentionally

A ‘serious indictable offence’ is one that carries a maximum penalty of at least 5 years in prison, which includes:

  1. Serious assaults such as assault occasioning actual bodily harm
  2. Drug manufacture and supply, and
  3. Larceny, fraud and most other dishonesty offences

A serious indictable offence is deemed to have been committed if an officer engaged in detecting and investigating offenders suspects on reasonable grounds that such an offence has been committed.

Examples of hindering an investigation may include:

  1. Taking steps to hide information relating to a serious offence
  2. Lying to police to divert their investigations away from an offender, and
  3. Maintaining a false statement to cover up for an offender

It is not an offence against the section to merely refuse or fail to divulge information.

Duress is a defence to the charge.

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