by Doogue O'Brien George Criminal Defence Lawyers

The Maximum Penalty for Consorting in Melbourne – How Serious is This Charge?

There is a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment for anyone found guilty of the charge of Consorting. This penalty may be imposed when a Court considers the offending to be extreme, however, in most cases a conviction is likely to result in a lower penalty. Consorting is generally considered by Courts to be a moderately serious criminal offence. Any cases relating to this charge will be heard summarily in the Magistrates’ Court.


The legislation on Consorting

Section 49F of the Summary Offences Act 1966 creates the offence of Consorting. It states as follows:                                                                     


(1)   A person must not, without reasonable excuse, habitually consort with a person who has been found guilty of, or who is reasonably suspected of having committed, an organised crime offence.

Penalty: 2 years imprisonment.

(2)   The accused bears the burden of proving reasonable excuse for habitual consorting to which a charge of an offence against subsection (1) relates.

(3)   In this section-

organised crime offence means an indictable offence against the law of Victoria, irrespective of when the offence was or is suspected to have been committed, that is punishable by level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum) or more and that-


(a)  involves 2 or more offenders; and

(b)  involves substantial planning and organisation; and

(c)  forms part of systemic and continuing criminal activity; and

(d)  has a purpose of obtaining profit, gain, power or influence.


Pleading guilty or not guilty to Consorting in a Melbourne Court

Before deciding whether to plead guilty or not guilty to the offence of Consorting, it is important that consult a criminal defence solicitor. A conviction for this offence can have very severe consequences so it is vital that you find out what your options are. Never risk your chances in Court by not referring your case to a competent lawyer.


Elements of the charge of Consorting in a Melbourne Court

The prosecution must show that the defendant has regularly associated or consorted with a person who is, or is suspected of being, involved in an organised crime.


Defending a charge of Consorting in a Melbourne Court

Defences that are often run in response to this charge are factual dispute and a reasonable excuse on the part of the defendant. It can also be a defence if the defendant did not have the knowledge necessary for an act of Consorting to exist.


For more information on Consorting, 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. 16 2013 and relates to the law that stands at this time.


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