Harbouring Offences in New South Wales
Harbouring offences are criminal offences that involve helping someone who has escaped from prison or is not allowed to be in the country. In Australia, harbouring offences can lead to imprisonment for up to 10 years. This page outlines the law surrounding harbouring in New South Wales.
Harbouring an escapee
Under section 310G of the Crimes Act 1900, harbouring an escapee is a criminal offence that carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment. For a court to find a person guilty of this offence, the prosecution must prove that the accused harboured, maintained, or employed an escaped inmate, and was aware of the person’s status as an escapee.
“Harbouring” encompasses actions such as taking in an escaped inmate into your home or providing them with shelter at another premise you own or occupy. “Maintaining” an escapee means providing them with monetary resources and sustenance. “Employing” an escapee means providing them with work for compensation.
An “escaped inmate” is defined as a person who has escaped from lawful custody from a correctional centre or immigration detention centre in another state or territory.
Proving the accused harboured an escapee
To secure a conviction in court, the police must prove each aspect of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In the case of harbouring, maintaining, or employing another person who has escaped from lawful custody, the police must show the following:
- The accused harbours, maintains or employs another person
- The accused knew that the other person had escaped from lawful custody
- The accused was the person who committed the offence
The offence of harbouring an escapee carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment.
Fighting a charge of harbouring an escapee
If you have been accused of harbouring, maintaining, or employing a person who has escaped from lawful custody, you may rely on a defence.
Defences to this charge include:
- The person was not in lawful custody;
- The person did not escape;
- The accused did not know the person had escaped from lawful custody;
- The accused did not harbour, maintain, or employ the person.
It is important to understand that each defence will have its own set of unique circumstances and requirements and that the best approach for your case will depend on the specifics of your situation. Our team of experienced legal professionals can provide you with a thorough and comprehensive evaluation of your case and help you develop the strongest possible defence strategy.
Concealing and harbouring non-citizens
Section 233E of the Migration Act 1958 deals with the offence of concealing and harbouring non-citizens.
A person who conceals a non-citizen in order to have them enter Australia in contravention of the Migration Act faces a penalty of imprisonment for 10 years, a fine of 1,000 penalty units, or both.
If a person conceals an unlawful non-citizen or deportee to prevent their discovery by an officer, they face the same penalty. Harbouring an unlawful non-citizen or a deportee can also attract a penalty of imprisonment for up to 10 years, a fine of 1,000 penalty units, or both.
How we can help
If you’ve been charged with a harbouring offence, you should seek the advice of a qualified and experienced lawyer. These charges can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment. A competent legal professional will be able to help you navigate the legal system, ensure that your rights are protected, and represent you in court. They will work with you to understand the charges against you and explore all possible defences that may be available.
It is also important to have a lawyer who can help you understand the full extent of the law and the legal implications of your situation. They can guide you on how to best proceed with your case and give you an understanding of what to expect as it moves forward. They can help you build a solid defence strategy that considers all of the evidence, circumstances, and other factors that could impact your case.
If you need legal advice and representation, don’t hesitate to contact the Go To Court Lawyers Legal Hotline. They are available to assist you from 7 am until midnight, seven days a week. Contact the Go To Court Lawyers Legal Hotline today.