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Attempted Offences and Penalties in Queensland (QLD)

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Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

There is a whole category/description for offences convicted by "intention" or attempts. Section 4 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) gives details about offences of "Attempting" to commit a crime.

For this section, it is immaterial that the person could not carry out the act due to another circumstance. It is regarded as an offence as long as the prosecution can prove that the accused person intended to commit the act and was reasonably familiar with all the aids, instruments or materials.

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

Following section 4 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld), a person is guilty of an "Attempt" to commit an offence where;

  • The accused person at any point put their intentions of committing the offence into consideration,
  • The person manifests any part of their action leading to the offence regardless of its result.
  • The person committed the act, even when they did not fulfil the intention.

For an Attempted offence proceeding, it is immaterial to the court that;

  • ✔ The offender completes all actions that are considered necessary to complete the offence,
  • ✔ An external circumstance, reason or obstacle prevents the offender from completing the actions that will lead to an offence
  • ✔ The offender repented if certain parts of their actions were to commit the offence. This part refers to where the offender reduces the gravity of the offence
  • ✔ The offender couldn't commit the actual crime due to available conditions or factors.

An example is where a person is charged for an "attempted burglary offence by destroying the doors of a house". It would be irrelevant to the case even if that door would not access the property. The person will still be culpable of the offence if the evidence suggests they committed any illegal actions.

It is also possible that the same conditions that constitute an "Attempt" offence may be enough to constitute the actual offence.

Attempts or Preparation to commit an indictable offence

Chapter 55 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) also describes other conditions that make a person culpable of an attempted offence under Queensland criminal laws. Section 535 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) gives two conditions in this regard to be;

  • The person attempts or prepares to commit a crime or misdemeanour under the law.

Penalties for Attempted Offences

The penalties for Attempting to commit offences can be fixed, flexible or depending on the jury’s consideration of circumstances around the offence. Punishments for attempts of “indictable offences” are usually fixed to the actual commission of the offences.

Section 536 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) stipulates the punishments for an “Attempt” offence to be life imprisonment, especially where

  • The Original offence is punishable by life imprisonment, and
  • There are no other special punishments provided in the legal writings or constitutions

Crimes punishable by up to life imprisonment (but not mandatory)

However, if the actual crime is liable to Life imprisonment, but not required;

  • Subsection 2 of s536 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) stipulates an equivalent punishment of 14 years imprisonment unless other punishments are specified.

Indictable offence and no other punishment is stated

If the person is guilty of any other indictable crime, and no other punishments are provided; subsection 3 stipulates a penalty that is;

  • Half of the maximum penalty for the Actual offence

For this section, mandatory life imprisonment cannot be mitigated or negotiated under this Act or law.

Reduction of Punishments

Section 538 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) describes and permits a case where half the stipulated form can reduce an offender's punishments. Some of the conditions include;

  • Where it is proven in court that the offender at a point repented independently of committing the offence.

For example, A person repented of breaking into a building for a reason other than seeing a possible obstruction to their original plan.

And if the stipulated punishment for the "Attempt" offence is a life imprisonment term, the person is liable to 14 years imprisonment.

Attempt to procure another to commit a criminal act

Section 539 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) finds a person guilty of this offence if they;

  • Lure, deceive, procure or influence another person to commit an act that is a crime, OR;
  • Influence such a person to commit acts outside that would be considered an offence if committed.

It also includes where the person influenced another person consistent with section 4 of the Code as listed above.

Punishments for Procuring/Inciting another to commit an Offence

A person found guilty of this offence will incur penalties as if they "Attempted to commit the crime. It means the court is free to sentence the person following the description listed above or under section 536 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld).

Preparation to Commit a Crime with dangerous things

It is an offence under section 540 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) that a person not only intends to commit an offence but prepares all the conditions necessary for the crime to happen. It includes where the person was in possession of a weapon or other objects that serve as a weapon or an explosive that could injure a person or give illegitimate access to an area/property.

It includes where the offender possessed the material to either commit an offence or procure another to commit the crime.

  • Section 540 stipulates a penalty of 7 years imprisonment.

Conspiracy Offences

It is an offence under Chapter 56 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) for a person to;

  • Conspire, plan, agree with another person to commit an act that is a crime, or
  • Commit an act outside Queensland that is equally or more severely punished by Queensland laws.

Any party/conspirators found guilty of the offence are liable to 7 years imprisonment where no other penalty is stipulated. However, the punishments will be lesser if the Actual offence they conspired to commit carries a sentence of less than seven years imprisonment.

Generally, the offences of conspiracy cannot be instituted without the consent of an Attorney-General.

Conspiracy to commit other offences.

A person who conspires with another to commit any other offences under the law (less than an indictable offence) is guilty of punishments reaching three years imprisonment (s542 of the Act).

Special conspiracies

The Act also describes special conspiratorial actions if a person agrees with another to;

  • Prevent or disturb the execution of an activity of any law or enforcement
  • Cause injury to another person or damage their reputation
  • Damage the trade or profession of another person through any physical or libellous actions
  • Act in a manner that obstructs or prevents the fundamental rights of a person
  • To cause or effect any unlawful purpose

Section 543 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) stipulates penalties of up to 3 years imprisonment for any of these offences or similar conspiracy offences.

Will an attempted offence 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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