Judge's Table
Property Offences

Stealing

 

The most common form of stealing involves taking property which belongs to someone else with intention of depriving the owner of that property. You can steal from someone by borrowing from them when you have no intention of paying them back. You could also be guilty of stealing if you find something and keep it when clear steps were available to find the owner.

 

There are a number of potential defences to a charge of stealing. In every case the prosecution must prove that you both took the property and that you intended to deprive the owner of it when you did so. Sometimes charges are laid when the proof of one or both of these elements is lacking. If you take something under the genuine belief that you have a legal right to it then you may have a viable defence to the charge. Stealing by finding is also defensible where you could not be expected to discover the owner. 

 

The crime of Stealing is contained in section 210 of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT). The maximum penalty for stealing is usually seven years in prison. If the thing stolen is worth over $100,000, the maximum penalty increases to 14 years imprisonment.

Moving People

Robbery

 

The offence of robbery involves someone using violence, or threats of violence, in order to steal from them. It is for this reason that robbery is sometimes described as the nexus of stealing and an assault. The crime of Robbery is contained in section 211 of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT).

 

Robbery is considered an extremely serious offence and can only be dealt with in the Supreme Court. If the person committing the robbery is armed with a weapon, is in company with others, or causes harm to the victim, the offence carries life in prison as the maximum penalty.

Old TV on the Street

Arson

 

Arson is using fire or explosives to cause damage to a building or vehicle. It is considered a very serious crime and carries life imprisonment as a maximum penalty. In the case of Ajax v The Queen [2006] NTCCA 12 the Court of Criminal Appeal unanimously called on sentences for Arson to be increased. 

The crime of Arson is contained in section 243 of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT).

 

If you are charged with Arson it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice as early as possible to ensure your rights are protected and your case is advanced with expertise.

Damaging Property

 

If a person damages another person’s property they commit an offence carrying 14 years in prison as the maximum penalty. The crime of Damaging Property is contained in section 241 of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT).

 

The damage must be caused either intentionally or recklessly. You can also break the law by threatening to damage someone’s property intending that they will fear you carrying through with the threat. Damaging someone’s property in an unforeseeable accident will generally not be a crime.

 

Damaging property is defined as an ‘Aggravated Property Offence’ under the Northern Territory Sentencing Act 1995. This means that if a person is found guilty, unless they can demonstrate ‘exceptional circumstances’ apply to their case, the Court is required to sentence them to either imprisonment or a community work order (community service). Not everybody is eligible for a community work order. 

 

Expert legal advice at an early stage is recommended for any matter involving mandatory sentencing laws.

Unlawful Entry

 

If a person enters a building with the intention of committing an offence inside they commit the crime of Unlawful Entry. 

 

The circumstances of this crime can vary widely, as do the available penalties. Depending on what occurred the maximum available punishment can jump from one year in prison to life behind bars.

 

It is not uncommon for there to be insufficient evidence to show what the person entering the building actually intended. Other times only circumstantial evidence exists to identify the person who might have entered the building. Expert analysis of the evidence is recommended to ensure that you are not convicted of an offence you might not have committed. 

 

Unlawful entry is defined as an ‘Aggravated Property Offence’ under the Northern Territory Sentencing Act 1995. This means that if a person is found guilty, unless they can demonstrate ‘exceptional circumstances’ apply to their case the Court is required to sentence them to either imprisonment or a community work order (community service). Not everybody is eligible for a community work order. 

 

Legal advice at an early stage is recommended for any matter involving mandatory sentencing laws.

The Streets

Unlawful use of motor vehicle

 

If you take or use someone else's car without their permission, and without a sufficient justification or excuse, you are unlawfully using their motor vehicle. This is an offence against section 218 of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT).

 

Generally this will carry a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment. If certain aggravating factors are present, the maximum penalty can rise to to seven years in prison.

 

In some circumstances Unlawful use of a Motor Vehicle can amount to an ‘Aggravated Property Offence’ under the Northern Territory Sentencing Act 1995. This means that if a person is found guilty, unless they can demonstrate ‘exceptional circumstances’ apply to their case, the Court is required to sentence them to either imprisonment or a community work order (community service). Not everybody is eligible for a community work order. 

 

Legal advice at an early stage is recommended for any matter involving mandatory sentencing laws.

This content is intended as general legal information only and should not be considered as legal advice relevant to any particular case. Territory Criminal Lawyers takes no responsibility or liability for any legal decisions based in whole or in part upon this legal information.

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