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Burglary In Perth

The offence of burglary in Perth and the rest of Western Australia is contained in section 401 of the Criminal Law Compilation Act 1913. The legislation sets out different maximum penalties that apply depending on the circumstances of the burglary and depending on whether the matter is dealt with summarily or on indictment. This article outlines the laws surrounding burglary in Perth and elsewhere in WA.

What is burglary in Perth?

A person is guilty of burglary in Perth or elsewhere in WA if they enter or are in the place of another person without the other person’s consent and with intent to commit a criminal offence.

A place is defined as including a building, tent, structure, conveyance and includes a conveyance that is presently immovable or a place that it from time to time empty or uninhabited.

A person is taken to enter a place if any part of the person’s body is in the place or if any thing that is within the person’s control is in the place.

Aggravated burglary in Perth

A person is guilty of aggravated burglary in Perth or elsewhere in WA if they commit a burglary and any of the following circumstances exists:

  • They are or pretend to be armed with an offensive weapon or instrument;
  • They are or pretend to be in possession of an explosive substance;
  • They are in company with one or more other persons;
  • They cause bodily harm to another person;
  • They threaten to kill or injure a person
  • They detain a person;
  • Immediately before the offence they knew or ought to have known that a person was present in the place entered.

Jurisdiction

A burglary matter can be dealt with summarily (by a magistrate) under some circumstances. When this occurs, the matter will be finalised in the Magistrates Court if the accused is over 18 or in the Children’s Court if the accused is under 18.

Lesser penalties apply when a burglary matter is dealt with in a lower court, with the maximum penalty a magistrate can impose for any single offence being three years imprisonment.

Penalty for burglary

A person guilty of burglary is liable to different maximum penalties depending on the circumstances. The maximum penalties that apply are summarised below.

ProvisionOffenceAge of childMaximum penalty
Section 321(2)Sexual penetration of child13 -16Imprisonment for 14 years (20 years if the child is under the offender's supervision or care)
Section 321(3)Procure, incite or encourage child to engage in sexual behaviour13 -16Imprisonment for 14 years (20 years if the child is under the offender's supervision, care or authority)
Section 321(4)Indecent dealing with child13 -16Imprisonment for 7 years (10 years if the child was under the offender's supervision, control or authority)
Section 321(5)Procure, incite or encourage child to do sexual act13 -16Imprisonment for 7 years (10 years if the child was under the offender's supervision, control or authority)
Section 321(6)Indecent record child13 - 16Imprisonment for 7 years (10 years if the child was under the offender's supervision, control or authority)

Where a burglary is committed and the value of the property stolen or damaged is more than $50,000, the matter must be dealt with on indictment.

Mandatory sentencing for repeat home burglary offenders

If a person is found guilty of home burglary and is a repeat offender, the court must sentence them to a term of imprisonment of at least two years if they are an adult. If a juvenile is found guilty of home burglary and is a repeat offender, they must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment or detention of at least 12 months. 

A person is deemed to be a repeat offender if they have been found guilty of three or more home burglaries (including the current offence), whether or not convictions were recorded.

If you require legal advice or representation in relation to burglary in Perth or in any other legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Author

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.

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