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Obtaining Property by Deception

Obtaining Property by Deception is an offence under Section 134.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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

  1. You dishonestly obtained property belonging to another
  2. You did so by a deception
  3. You intended to permanently deprive the other of the property, and
  4. The property belonged to a Commonwealth entity

An act is considered ‘dishonest’ even if you intended to pay for it.

You are considered to have ‘obtained property’ if:

  1. You received ownership, possession or control of it for yourself or another person,
  2. You enabled ownership, possession or control to be retained by yourself,
  3. You induced a third person to pass ownership, possession or control to another person, or
  4. You induced a third person to enable another to retain ownership, possession or control of it

‘Deception’ means an intentional or reckless deception, whether by words or conduct, and whether as to fact or law, and includes:

  1. A deception as to your intentions or that of another person, and
  2. Conduct that causes a computer, machine or electronic device to make a response you are not authorised to cause

You ‘intended to permanently deprive’ another even if you did not mean for the other to permanently lose the property as long as you intended to treat the property as your own to dispose of regardless of the other’s rights.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Duress
  2. Necessity, and
  3. Having a ‘claim of right’ over the property which means you genuinely believed you were legally entitled to it

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