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Recklessly Contaminating Goods (Constitutional Offence)

Recklessly contaminating goods (constitutional offence) is a crime under section 380.2(2A) 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 contaminated goods
  2. You did so with recklessness as to:
  1. Causing public alarm or anxiety in Australia, or
  2. Causing widespread, or nationally significant, economic loss in Australia through public awareness of the contamination, or possible contamination, of the goods, and
  1. Any of the following apply:
  1. the loss is to a constitutional corporation other than a foreign corporation
  2. the loss is to a constitutional corporation that is a foreign corporation, and the goods have been produced, manufactured, assembled or otherwise processed in Australia
  3. the goods belong to a constitutional corporation other than a foreign corporation
  4. the goods belong to a constitutional corporation that is a foreign corporation, and the goods have been produced, manufactured, assembled or otherwise processed in Australia
  5. you are a constitutional corporation other than a foreign corporation
  6. you are a constitutional corporation that is a foreign corporation, and the goods have been produced, manufactured, assembled or otherwise processed in Australia
  7. the loss takes the form of detriment to constitutional trade and commerce
  8. the goods are in the course of, or intended for, constitutional trade and commerce
  9. you make the subject statement in Australia using a postal or other like service, or by electronic communication
  10. you make the subject statement outside Australia, and the goods have been produced, manufactured, assembled or otherwise processed in Australia
  11. the incurred loss is to the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority, or
  12. your statement is made to the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority.

‘Goods’ include any substance:

  1. Whether or not for human consumption
  2. Whether natural or manufactured, or
  3. Whether or not incorporated or mixed with other goods.

To ‘contaminate’ goods includes:

  1. To interfere with goods, or
  2. To make it appear that goods have been contaminated or interfered with.

‘Economic loss caused through public awareness of the contamination of goods’ includes a reference to economic loss caused through:

  1. Members of the public not purchasing or using those goods or similar things, or
  2. Steps taken to avoid public alarm or anxiety or to avoid harm to members of the public.

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware there was a substantial risk that your conduct would cause public alarm or significant economic loss in Australia, and it was unjustifiable to take that risk in the circumstances but you went ahead with your actions regardless.

Duress and necessity are defences to the charge.

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