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Home Resources & Technical Articles Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z) Attempted Offences Attempted Offences and Penalties in the Northern Territory (NT)

Attempted Offences and Penalties in the Northern Territory (NT)

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It is an offence under general NT laws for a person to plan, intimate, procure or attempt to commit a crime per the law. It becomes a serious offence, especially when the offence committed is an indictable offence (attracting severe punishments) under the law.

Division 4 and Section 43BF of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) describes certain conditions that make a person guilty of an attempted offence.

If an individual is convicted in a Northern Territory court for an attempted offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in the NT.

Attempted offences

Section 43BF of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) stipulates an attempted offence to be committed where a person accused cannot provide contrary evidence or argument as to the Attempted offence.

As per section 43BF of the Act, a person must be more than preparatory to commit the offence as shown in the evidence for them to be guilty of an attempted crime. And this can only be proven by facts and evidence.

It is not satisfactory that the accuser cannot describe a logical and clear case where the accused person is prepared to commit the act. For example, it may not be enough to the court that the accuser only heard from a third party (word of mouth) that the accused would commit the offence.

When the court is accessing the conditions or requirements of an attempted offence, intention or knowledge are the most important elements it considers concerning the nature of the attempted offence.

What if the Actual offence would be impossible to commit?

The Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) makes it possible for the court to fault a person for attempt offences even when;

  1. Committing the actual offence would be impossible through any physical or material means of the time.
  2. The person succeeds in carrying out the offence that they attempted. For example, a person who attempts to loot a shop possesses or moves some of the equipment to that effect. They will still be guilty even if they access the premise through any other means and benefit of the crime.

However, a person can only be charged once regarding an attempt or actual offence. The Act does not allow a person to be dually charged for attempting the crime and Committing the completed offence.

Are the criteria available for the committed and Attempt offence?

The Criminal Code allows the similarity in handling the procedures, defences, and limitations of Attempt and Actual offences. A person may use the same line of defence, court procedures, and relevant circumstances for either of the crimes in any scenario.

The Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) also permits any special cases, permissions, implements and further provisions that apply to an offence to also work for the attempting to commit that offence.

Also, there are special cases where it is not an offence to attempt offences.

Complicity, Indictments and procurements to commit an offence

Section 43BG of the Act stipulates a person to be guilty if they aid, abet, counsel, encourage or reasonably influence another person to commit a crime. The section finds the person equally guilty of an attempt offence under the law and attracts the punishments available.

Section 43BG finds a person guilty of conduct if they in any form aided, abetted, counselled, or practically instigated the commission of an offence from that person. And where the offence is duly committed by another person irrespective of their age or status.

A person is also guilty of offences under this section if they intend that;

  • The other person's conduct would aid, abet, or lead to the commission of any offence.
  • The person’s conduct will result in the commission of the offence, and they were reckless about it.

However, a person is not guilty of aiding, abetting, counselling or any other offence under this section if before such crime was committed, they;

  • Terminated any involvement with the person,
  • Took lots of reasonable steps to prevent the commission of the offence

The Act can still find a person guilty of such offence even if the person they procured to commit the crime has not yet been prosecuted.

Joint Commission of an offence

Section 43BGA of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) also finds a person to be guilty of committing an offence if they at any point;

Enter into any form of agreement with at least another person regarding commission of the offence.

There was any form of agreement regarding the outcome, possessions, loot from such act;

  • Before the commission of the offence, or
  • In the course of the offence.

Incitement to commit an offence

A person can be guilty of incitement offences if they, through any of the conditions listed in section 43BI, incite a person to commit a crime. Subsection two of this section means that the person intended for the offence to be committed through another person.

A person can still be guilty of the offence of incitement even if it were impossible to commit the crime at the time.

Punishments for Incitement offences

If the offence incurs life imprisonment, the person who incites another person will incur punishments up to 10 years imprisonment. However, if it is punishable by imprisonment reaching 14 years or more, but not by life, the person will incur punishments reaching seven years imprisonment.

If the punishment is ten years or more, it will incur punishments up to 5 years imprisonment. For offences punishable by three years, lesser punishments or penalty units apply.

Punishments for General Attempted offences

A person guilty of the general act of Attempt to commit an offence (especially if an indictable) is liable to 7 years imprisonment (s 278 of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT)) if;

  • No other punishment is stipulated,
  • If the person guilty is liable to life imprisonment,
  • Liable to imprisonment of 14 years or longer

However, where no punishment is stipulated and the crime is indictable, the penalty will be the same as half the maximum punishments for which an original found guilty will be liable.

Preparation to commit an offence.

It is a serious violation for a person to "prepare" to commit a crime through knowingly;

  • Possessing relevant items,
  • Keeping explosives or other dangerous materials,
  • Enabling any other person through other means

Such a person is liable to imprisonment reaching five years.

Conspiracy offences

A person guilty of conspiring with another person to commit a conspiracy offence is guilty of a crime with imprisonment of 7 years. And if the original offence attracts a seven years penalty, the conspiracy offence will be lesser.

However, the punishment is one year for summary offences.

Penalties for Conspiracy offences also include;

  • ✔ 15 years if they conspired to pervert justice,
  • ✔ Three years if they conspired to carry out a seditious movement,
  • ✔ Seven years if they conspired for a false charge
  • ✔ Three years for other lesser conspiracy offences if no penalty is stated.

Will an attempted offence in the Northern Territory (NT) show up on a nationally coordinated criminal history check?

If an individual is found guilty of an attempted offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their police record check.

Individuals can obtain an Australian police check via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

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