Goods in Custody
As per section 527C of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) unlawful possession of property, otherwise known as goods in custody, is a criminal offence. The Crimes Act explicitly states that:
- Any person who:
- Has any thing in his or her custody;
- Has any thing in the custody of another person;
- Has any thing in or on premises, whether belonging to or occupied by himself or herself or not, or whether that thing is there for his or her own use of the use of another, or
- Gives custody of any thing to a person who is not lawfully entitled to possession of the thing,
which may be reasonably suspected of being stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained, is liable on conviction before the Local Court.
To best understand the offence, it is defined as having custody of something which is reasonably suspected of being stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained. It is also important to understand the definition of custody in this instance. Custody could mean any of the following in the judiciary system:
- On your custody
- In the custody of another person;
- Goods in custody in or on premises;
- Giving custody to another person who is now lawfully entitled to possession of the thing.
Upon conviction in the Local Court, the maximum penalties are as follows:
- If the item is a motor vehicle, motor vehicle part, a vessel or vessel part, the maximum penalty that will be imposed is a term of 1-year imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,100.
- For any other item, the maximum penalty that may be enforced is 6 months’ imprisonment or a fine of $550.
The Court has the ability to impose penalties such as Intensive Correction Orders (ICOs), Community Service Orders (CSOs) or deal with the matter by the means of a section 10 dismissal in appropriate circumstances.
At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are criminal defence lawyers with a wealth of experience in defending various criminal offences.
For accurate advice relating to the specific penalties that are likely to be enforced, should you be facing such a charge, please do not hesitate to contact our criminal defence law firm for a consultation.
If you have been charged with the offence of Goods in Custody, in order to be found guilty, the Police will need to establish the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Had an item in his or her custody;
- You had an item in the custody of another person; or
- You had an item in or on premises, whether belonging to or occupied by yourself or not, or whether that item is there for your use or the use of another; or
- You gave custody of any thing to a person who is not lawfully entitled to the possession of that item.
- And the item may be reasonably suspected of being stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.
If the Police are able to successfully prove these claims or you decide to plead guilty to the allegations, you will proceed to sentencing whereby the maximum penalty may be imposed. However, pleading guilty often shows remorse for your actions. As a result, it is not uncommon to see the Court enforce less significant sentences as opposed to the maximum penalty. This may take form as a reduced sentence, non-custodial punishments, or a section 10 dismissal in which no conviction will be recorded, however some conditions will be applied.
At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders our team of criminal defence lawyers have won numerous industry awards and hold a 90% success rate on the criminal and traffic offences we represent.
For more accurate information relating to penalties that may be enforced if you found guilty or enter a guilty plea, contact our Sydney based criminal defence law firm for a consultation.
Should you plead not guilty to the charges of goods in custody, the matter will then proceed to trial. When this happens, it is up to the prosecution team to establish and prove that you did commit the crime as per section 527C of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). If the prosecution team are able to prove these facts, it is likely that a conviction will follow in which one of the above penalties will apply.
However, our job as criminal defence lawyers is to thoroughly cross-examine the evidence provided by the prosecution and cast doubt on the claims made in order to defend our client. We will also use relevant defence strategies to disprove the claims made by the prosecution. If we are successful, these defence strategies may either provide a complete defence, in which the charges will be dropped and no penalties will be imposed, or a partial defence in which charges will be downgraded to an offence with less significant penalties.
Duress: Encompasses the use of unlawful coercion to persuade a person to partake in an activity they would not usually participate in. This coercion can take form of harmful threats such as death or grievous bodily harm in which the accused believes that if they do not participate in the activity, they can be at risk.
Necessity: Although this defence can be difficult to prove, a person charged with goods in custody can be defended by the means of necessity if it can be determined that they were in fear they would be seriously harmed or even killed by human or natural forces. The situation has to demonstrate a sense of urgency, and the accused would have to believe that if they didn’t act, their life would have been in danger.
Alternatively, you may be able to satisfy the Court on the balance of probabilities that you had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that the property was stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.
Goods in custody is classified as a summary offence and is heard at a Local Court. At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are experienced criminal lawyers based in Parramatta and the Sydney CBD, however we have represented clients throughout various Local Courts in NSW. For a full list of Local Courts and to find the closest to you, click here.