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Attempted Offences and Conspiracy (Qld)

The Queensland Criminal Code makes it an offence to attempt to commit a criminal offence or to conspire to commit a criminal offence. The maximum penalties which apply to attempts to commit offences and conspiring to commit offences depend on the penalty that applies to the offence itself. The maximum penalty for attempted offences is generally half of the maximum penalty for a completed offence.

The Criminal Code also contains provisions that deal specifically with attempted offences of murder,  rape and cause injury using explosives or noxious substances.

Attempts to commit offences

Under Section 4 of the Criminal Code, a person attempts to commit an offence when he or she intends to carry out an offence and begins to put the intention into execution.

A person can be found guilty under this provision even where they do not carry out all the actions necessary to commit the offence and even where they desist from committing the offence of their own accord.

It is immaterial whether it is, in fact, impossible to carry out the offence due to circumstances unknown to the offender.

An example of an attempt to commit burglary is where a person breaks the window of a house with the intention of gaining entry and stealing. The person would be guilty of attempted burglary regardless of whether it was, in fact, possible to gain entry to the house through the window and regardless of whether they changed their mind after breaking the window.

Penalties for attempted offences

Section 536 of the Criminal Code provides that a person who attempts to commit an indictable offence is subject to the following penalties:

Offence attemptedMaximum penalty
Indictable offence punishable by mandatory life imprisonment Life imprisonment (but not mandatory)
Indictable offence punishable by life imprisonment Imprisonment for 14 years
Any other indictable offence Half the maximum penalty that applies

Under Section 538 of the Criminal Code, if a person who attempted an offence, voluntarily desisted from the offence of their own accord and not because of circumstances outside their control, they are subject to only half of the maximum penalty that would otherwise apply.

Attempt to murder

Section 306 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence punishable by life imprisonment to:

  • Attempt to unlawfully kill another person; or
  • To do something or omit to do something that it is your duty to do, with the intention of killing another person.

Attempt to rape

Under Section 350 of the Criminal Code, a person who attempts to commit rape is guilty of a crime punishable by a maximum of imprisonment for 14 years.

Attempted offences of injury by explosives or noxious substances

Under Section 321 of the Criminal Code, a person who puts explosives or noxious substances in a place with the intention of doing bodily harm to another is guilty of a crime punishable by a maximum of 14 years imprisonment.

Conspiracy to commit offences

Under Section 541 of the Criminal Code, a person who conspires with another person to commit a crime is guilty of a crime punishable by a maximum penalty of imprisonment for seven years. However, if the crime attempted carries a maximum penalty of less than seven years, then that maximum penalty also applied to an attempted offence.

Under Section 542 of the Criminal Code, a person who conspires with another person to commit an offence that is not a crime is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment.

A person can be found guilty of a conspiracy offence against Queensland law if conspiring to commit any act which is a criminal offence in Queensland. This is the case even if the act contemplated is intended to be committed outside of Queensland provided the act would also constitute an offence in the place it is proposed to be committed.

If you require legal advice or representation in a criminal law matter or in any other legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

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