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Using a Carriage Service to Counsel or Incite Suicide

Using a carriage service to counsel or incite suicide is an offence under section 474.29A(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of a 1000 penalty unit fine.

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

  1. You used a carriage service to access, transmit, make available, publish or distribute material, or cause material to be transmitted
  2. The material counselled or incited the commission or attempted commission of suicide, whether directly or indirectly, and
  3. You intended by your conduct to counsel or incite the commission or attempted commission of suicide, or

You intended for the material to be used by another person to counsel or incite the commission or attempted commission of suicide.

A ‘carriage service’ is:

‘a service for carrying communications by means of guided and/or unguided electromagnetic energy’, which includes telephone calls, text messages and internet transmissions such as emails and social media messaging.

You cannot be found guilty of the offence merely because you used the carriage service to:

  1. Engage in public discussion or debate about euthanasia or suicide, or
  2. Advocate for law reform relating to euthanasia or suicide.

Provided you did not intend by doing so to:

  1. Counsel or incite the commission or attempted commission of suicide
  2. Intend for another to counsel or incite the commission or attempted commission of suicide
  3. Intend the material to be used by another to commit suicide, or
  4. Promote or provide instruction regarding a method of committing suicide.

Duress and necessity and legal defences to the charge.

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