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Interfering with a Mine

Interfering with a Mine is an offence under section 201 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 caused water to run into a mine or into any subterranean channel connected to a mine, or you destroyed, damaged or instructed any shaft, passage, pit, airway, waterway or drain of, or associated with, a mine, or you destroyed, damaged or rendered useless any equipment, structure, building, road or bridge belonging to, or associated with, a mine, or you hindered the working of equipment belonging to, or associated with, a mine, and
  1. You did so intentionally or recklessly.

A ‘mine’ includes:

  1. A place at which gas or other petroleum is extracted from the ground
  2. A place at which exploration for minerals, or for gas or other petroleum, is undertaken by mechanical means that disturb the ground
  3. A place at which works are being carried out to enable the extraction of minerals, or of gas or other petroleum, from the ground, and
  4. A former mine at which works are being carried out to decommission the mine or make it safe.

You were ‘reckless’ if you foresaw the possibility that your actions could interfere with the mine, but went ahead with your actions regardless.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Duress
  2. Necessity, and
  3. Self defence.

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