Hindering an investigation

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What is Hindering an investigation ?

Hindering an investigation can be done by way of hindering the discovery of evidence or the arrest/apprehension of a person as well as the investigation itself.

Case law/Jurisdiction

An offence of Hindering an Investigation is what is known as a “Table 1” offence under the relevant legislation, which means it is to be dealt with in the Local Court unless an election is it is to be dealt with on indictment by the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The nature and elements of the offence of Hindering an Investigation were considered in R v El-Zeyat [2002] NSWCCA 138. Here it was held that for the offence to be committed, it is necessary that the accused be aware, in a general way, of the nature of the primary offence concerning which he was intentionally hindering.

The Law

Section 315 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) states:

A person who does anything intending in any way to hinder the investigation of a serious indictable offence committed by another person, or the discovery of evidence concerning a serious indictable offence committed by another person, or the apprehension of another person who has committed a serious indictable offence, commits an offence

What must the prosecution prove?

Since Hindering an Investigation offence is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.

The prosecution must prove each of the elements in the charge beyond reasonable doubt.

That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of Hindering an Investigation.

To establish Hindering an Investigation, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt;

That you did any act;

  • Intending in any way to hinder:
  • The investigation of a serious indictable offence committed by another person;
  • The discovery of evidence concerning a serious indictable offence committed by another person; or
  • The apprehension of another person who has committed a serious indictable offence
  • A serious indictable offence is an offence that is punishable by a term of five years imprisonment or more.

If you are charged with the offence of Hindering an Investigation what are your options?

Our High Profile Criminal Lawyers have been successful in defending a number of Hindering an Investigation charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements of Hindering an Investigation. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for Hindering an Investigation charges.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Hindering an Investigation;

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

Pleading Guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence and the police are able to prove all the elements of the offence, it is best to plead guilty at an early opportunity to receive the maximum discount. Currently the maximum discount available for an early plea of guilty is 25% of the sentence.

Furthermore, the early guilty plea shows the Court that you have remorse and contrition for your actions.

Our Lawyers at National Criminal Lawyers work closely with you to ensure that we obtain all necessary paper work at increasing the chances of obtaining a non-conviction or section 10.

Maximum Penalties

Hindering an investigation can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 2 years (if heard in the Local Court) or up to 7 years (If heard in the District Court).

Please note these penalties are reserved for the worst kind of offending and are unlikely to be what you would receive.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty you will need to prepare to go to a Defended Hearing.

A defended hearing is where all the witnesses of that case are called to give evidence. The witnesses are both examined by the prosecution and tested by your defence lawyers.

National Criminal Lawyers have defended hundreds of people charged with Hindering an Investigation and are experts at these hearings.

Defences

Some of the possible defences available for those charged with Hindering an Investigation can include;

  • that you did not intend to hinder an investigation, discovery of evidence or the apprehension of a person;
  • that you did not do the act that is alleged;
  • If you were compelled to act in a certain way due to the circumstances, or the threats of another you may be able to argue “Duress”; or
  • If your actions were necessary to prevent a greater harm from occurring, you may have the defence of “Necessity”.

Statistics

The Courts are not bound by statistics however there must be reasonable consistency in sentences. A Magistrate or Judge should have regard to what has been done in other cases. In Green [2011] HCA 45, the plurity judgement of French CJ, Kiefel and Creennan JJ stated:

“Equal Justice” embodies the norm expressed in the terms “equality before the law”. It is an aspect of the rule of law.

For Hindering an Investigation 12% of offenders received full time imprisonment whereas 42% received a s9 good behaviour bond.

Possible Penalty's

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Hindering an Investigation charge.

  • Prison sentence;
  • Home Detention;
  • Intensive correction order (previously periodic detention);
  • Suspended sentence;
  • Community service order (CSO);
  • Good behaviour bond;
  • Fine; and/or
  • Section 10.

However, from the 24 September 2018 new penalty’s will be replacing the above. They are as follows:

  • Full time Imprisonment;
  • New ICO (ICO) with a home detention condition available;
  • New Community Correction Order (CCO);
  • Fine and/or
  • New Conditional release Order (CRO)

Case Studies

Our client’s partner was being arrested and our client protested and tried to pull him away. One of the police officers warned our client she was hindering police, but she did not cease trying to pull her partner away and attempted to physically pull her partner while he was being handcuffed. She was then arrested by police to which she continued to struggle. She was charged with hinder police investigation.  During a plea negotiation, our client pleaded guilty to the hinder charge. We represented her in her sentencing hearing where we tendered psychiatric evidence that showed that there was no risk of her reoffending. We also tendered references and a letter of apology. As one of the best non-conviction lawyers Sydney has to offer the Magistrate took into consideration our submissions and the information we tendered and ultimately handed down a Section 10 sentence meaning the offence was not recorded on our clients criminal record .

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. We get the results

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. We give a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with any Hindering an Investigation offence our Team at National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

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