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Misconduct With Regard to Corpses

Misconduct With Regard to Corpses is an offence under section 81C of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.

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

  1. You indecently interfered with any dead human body, or
  2. You improperly interfered with, or offered any indignity to, any dead human body or human remains

‘Indecent’ has been defined as:

“contrary to the ordinary standards of respectable people in this community”.

‘Interfere’ has been defined as including:

“altering, defacing, removing, obliterating, concealing or adding anything to”.

An ‘indignity’ may be caused where the appropriate respect is not afforded to the body or remains.

The offence applies to both buried and unburied bodies and remains.

Duress is a defence to the charge.

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