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Preparing for a Foreign Interference Offence

Preparing for a foreign interference offence is a crime under section 92.4 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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

  1. You engaged in conduct, and
  2. You did so with the intention of preparing for, or planning, a foreign interference offence.

A foreign interference offence is:

  • An offence against section 92.2 of the Act, which is intentional foreign interference, or
  • An offence against section 92.3 of the Act, which is reckless foreign interference.

You may be found guilty whether or not the foreign interference offence was actually committed.

You are not guilty if you establish, ‘on the balance of probabilities’, that your conduct was:

  1. In accordance with a law of the Commonwealth
  2. In accordance with an arrangement or agreement to which the Commonwealth was party, or
  3. In your capacity as a public official.

The Attorney-General’s consent is required for a prosecution to be commenced under the section, and the hearing may occur ‘in camera’ (in secret) if the court believes this is in the interests of national security.

Duress is a defence to the charge.

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