Wollongong Man Charged With 30 Offences Today

, Wollongong Man Charged With 30 Offences Today

Wollongong Man Charged With 30 Offences Today

The following was reported by NSW Police on their news page this morning:

“A 24-year-old Wollongong man has been charged with 30 offences relating to malicious damage to telecommunications infrastructure across the Illawarra and South West Sydney regions.

In April, police identified a series of incidents across the Lake Illawarra and Wollongong Police Districts and the Liverpool Police Area Command relating to damage to telecommunications infrastructure.

Police will allege the man cut the cabling within telecommunications infrastructure, which caused EFTPOS facilities in neighbouring commercial businesses to become immobilised.

The man then made a number of fraudulent purchases while EFTPOS services were offline.

Following investigation by police from Lake Illawarra, a 24-year-old man was arrested in Liverpool earlier this week (Tuesday 2 July 2019).

The man was charged with 30 offences relating to these matters, including intentionally/recklessly destroy/damage property, tamper with facility owned by carrier to hinder operation and dishonestly obtain property by deception.

The man has been refused bail and will appear before Wollongong Local Court on 20 August 2019.

Police inquiries are continuing.”

The offence of maliciously damaging telecommunications infrastructure seems unusual, but in the context of then making fraudulent purchases while EFTPOS machines it appears this was a calculated and planned offence.

THE LAW

Section 195 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) (the Act) – destroying or damaging property

(1) A person who intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property belonging to another or to that person and another is liable:

(a) to imprisonment for 5 years, or

(b) if the destruction or damage is caused by means of fire or explosives, to imprisonment for 10 years.

(1A) A person who, in the company of another person or persons, intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property belonging to another or to that person and another is liable:

(a) to imprisonment for 6 years, or

(b) if the destruction or damage is caused by means of fire or explosives, to imprisonment for 11 years.

(2) A person who, during a public disorder, intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property belonging to another or to that person and another is liable:

(a) to imprisonment for 7 years, or

(b) if the destruction or damage is caused by means of fire or explosives, to imprisonment for 12 years

Where the value of the damaged property exceeds $5000, the offence is listed as a ‘table 1’ offence under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) (CPA). This means it is an indictable offence that is to be dealt with summarily unless the prosecutor or person charged elects otherwise. If the value of the property does not exceed $5000 this offence is then known as a ‘table 2’ offence under the CPA, which means it is a summary offence to be dealt with in the Local Court unless an election is made for trial on indictment by the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) or the accused. If the Prosecution or accused decide to elect, this means the offence is dealt with by the District Court of NSW. This means an accused, if found guilty, will be subject to higher penalties and the offence is considered more serious.

Section 474.6 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (the Criminal Code) – interference with facilities:

(1)  A person commits an offence if the person tampers with, or interferes with, a facility owned or operated by:

(a)  a carrier; or

(b)  a carriage service provider; or

(c)  a nominated carrier.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 1 year.

(2)  For the purposes of an offence against subsection (1), absolute liability applies to the physical element of circumstance of the offence, that the facility is owned or operated by a carrier, a carriage service provider or a nominated carrier.

(3)  A person commits an offence if:

(a)  the person tampers with, or interferes with, a facility owned or operated by:

(i)  a carrier; or

(ii)  a carriage service provider; or

(iii)  a nominated carrier; and

(b)  this conduct results in hindering the normal operation of a carriage service supplied by a carriage service provider.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years.

(4)  For the purposes of an offence against subsection (3), absolute liability applies to the following physical elements of circumstance of the offence:

(a)  that the facility is owned or operated by a carrier, a carriage service provider or a nominated carrier;

(b)  that the carriage service is supplied by a carriage service provider.

(5)  A person commits an offence if:

(a)  the person uses or operates any apparatus or device (whether or not it is comprised in, connected to or used in connection with a telecommunications network); and

(b)  this conduct results in hindering the normal operation of a carriage service supplied by a carriage service provider.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years.

(6)  For the purposes of an offence against subsection (5), absolute liability applies to the physical element of circumstance of the offence, that the carriage service is supplied by a carriage service provider.

These charges are criminal offences at the Federal level. This, along with the absolute liability tied to the physical element of the offences, indicates a level of seriousness.

To learn more about Commonwealth offences, check out our page.

Section 192E of the Act – Fraud

(1) A person who, by any deception, dishonestly:

(a) obtains property belonging to another, or

(b) obtains any financial advantage or causes any financial disadvantage,

is guilty of the offence of fraud.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

In addition to the general factors to be considered on sentence, the following factors will often be particularly relevant:

  • The amount of money involved
  • The length of time of the fraud
  • Whether the offender occupied a position of trust when the fraud was committed
  • Whether there was any sophistication in the method employed to defraud
  • The motive behind the offending.

On the face of it, the sophisticated method and considerable planning the alleged fraud must have involved will work against the man if convicted.

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