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Negligently Permitting an Escape from Lawful Custody

Negligently permitting an escape from lawful custody is an offence under section 310F(2) 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 were a correctional centre officer or police officer
  2. You had actual custody of an inmate
  3. You permitted the inmate to escape from lawful custody, and
  4. You did so by an act of negligence.

A ‘correctional centre officer’ includes any person employed by the management company of a managed correctional centre who has custody of an inmate at, or travelling to or from, a correctional centre.

An ‘inmate’ includes:

  1. A person detained in a correctional centre whether on remand, sentenced or otherwise lawfully detained there, and
  2. A detainee held in an immigration detention centre.

It does not include:

  1. A person in lawful custody for the purpose of serving an intensive correction order, or
  2. A detainee in a youth detention centre.

An ‘act of negligence’ in the context of a criminal offence is one that exhibits:

“Such a high degree of disregard… as to be regarded as a crime against the community generally”.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Duress
  2. Necessity, and
  3. Self-defence, which includes the defence of another.

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