Unauthorised Access, Modification, or Impairment with Intent to Commit a Serious Offence

by Doogue O'Brien George Criminal Defence Lawyers

Penalty for “Unauthorised Access, Modification, or Impairment with Intent to Commit a Serious Offence” in Melbourne – How Serious is This Charge?

There is a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a minimum penalty of 5 years gaol for a defendant convicted guilty of committing “Unauthorised Access, Modification, or Impairment with Intent to Commit a Serious Offence”. This charge is at the very high range of criminal behaviour. This is demonstrated by the possibility of life imprisonment upon conviction. As Courts view this to be a very serious charge, any related case will be heard in the County Court.

 

The legislation on “Unauthorised Access, Modification, or Impairment with Intent to Commit a Serious Offence”

Section 477.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 is the relevant legislative provision for “Unauthorised Access, Modification, or Impairment with Intent to Commit a Serious Offence”. It states:

                            

Unauthorised Access, Modification, or Impairment with Intent to Commit a Serious Offence

 

Intention to commit a serious Commonwealth, State or Territory offence

 

(1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

 

(a)  the person causes:

 

(i)    any unauthorised access to data held in a computer; or

(ii)   any unauthorised modification of data held in a computer; or

(iii)  any unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer; and

 

(b)  the unauthorised access, modification or impairment is caused by means of a carriage service; and

 

(c)  the person knows the access, modification or impairment is unauthorised; and

 

(d)  the person intends to commit, or facilitate the commission of, a serious offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory (whether by that person or another person) by the access, modification or impairment.

 

(2)  Absolute liability applies to paragraph (1)(b).

 

(3)  In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (1), it is not necessary to prove that the defendant knew that the offence was:

 

(a)  an offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; or

 

(b)  a serious offence.

 

Intention to commit a serious Commonwealth offence

 

(4)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

 

(a)  the person causes:

 

(i)    any unauthorised access to data held in a computer; or

(ii)   any unauthorised modification of data held in a computer; or

(iii)  any unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer; and

 

(b)  the person knows the access, modification or impairment is unauthorised; and

 

(c)  the person intends to commit, or facilitate the commission of, a serious offence against a law of the Commonwealth (whether by that person or another person) by the access, modification or impairment.

 

(5)  In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (4), it is not necessary to prove that the defendant knew that the offence was:

 

(a)  an offence against a law of the Commonwealth; or

 

(b)  a serious offence.

 

Penalty

 

(6)  A person who is guilty of an offence against this section is punishable, on conviction, by a penalty not exceeding the penalty applicable to the serious offence.

 

Impossibility

 

(7)  A person may be found guilty of an offence against this section even if committing the serious offence is impossible.

 

No offence of attempt

 

(8)  It is not an offence to attempt to commit an offence against this section.

 

Meaning of serious offence

 

(9)  In this section:

 

"serious offence" means an offence that is punishable by imprisonment for life or a period of 5 or more years.

 

Pleading guilty or not guilty to “Unauthorised Access, Modification, or Impairment with Intent to Commit a Serious Offence” in a Melbourne Court

Deciding whether you should plead guilty or not guilty to the charge of “Unauthorised Access, Modification, or Impairment with Intent to Commit a Serious Offence” is something that you should carefully consult with a criminal defence solicitor. This is a very serious charge and conviction can lead to very severe consequences. Don’t risk your chances in Court.

 

Elements of the charge of “Unauthorised Access, Modification, or Impairment with Intent to Commit a Serious Offence” in a Melbourne Court

It must be shown to the Court that the defendant caused unauthorised access to or modification of data held in a computer. It may also be the case that the defendant caused an unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer. The defendant must have known that the access, modification, or impairment was unauthorised. Furthermore, there must have been an intent on the part of the defendant to commit or facilitate a serious offence against the law of the Commonwealth through the unauthorised access, modification, or impairment.

 

Defending the charge of “Unauthorised Access, Modification, or Impairment with Intent to Commit a Serious Offence” in a Melbourne Court

Defences that are often run in relation to this charge are factual dispute, lack of intent, and honest and reasonable mistake of belief in regards to knowing whether what was committed was authorised or unauthorised. A criminal law specialist may use other defences depending on the circumstances of the case.

 

For more information on “Unauthorised Access, Modification, or Impairment with Intent to Commit a Serious Offence”, you may visit the Doogue O’Brien George Melbourne Criminal Lawyers site (here).

 

Doogue O’Brien George Melbourne can provide you more details about this

Our Head Office is at 5/221 Queen Street, Melbourne

Phone (03) 9670 5111 (24 hrs if you are in a Police Station)           

 

This article was written on Sep. 18 2013 and relates to the law as it stands at this time.



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