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Computers and other digital tools have become intertwined with daily lives and government and business functions worldwide. However, it is not uncommon for unscrupulous people to illegally circumvent or use these devices illegally to cause harm, unfair gain and destruction of important files.
The Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) describes various crimes and offences under the Territory legislation with specified punishments. Computer and other cyber crimes as demonstrated mainly by Division 10 and section 276 of the Act.
If an individual is convicted in a Northern Territory (NT) court for a Computer Crime offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a criminal background check in Western Australia.
The offence will be disclosed on a criminal history check in accordance with the Spent Convictions Scheme in the Northern Territory.
There are various computer offences; the term is usually a broad connotation of offences committed on a digital platform. Computer offences can range from the illegal Activities of hacking another person’s computer to illegally accessing data on a public computer.
Some of the Computer offences under the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) include;
It is an offence under the Act for a person to illegally get access to data in a computer for reasons including;
The person is guilty of an offence that carries up to 10 years imprisonment.
It is also an indictment on a person who unlawfully uses data that was accessed illegally. It is immaterial that they were the original perpetrators of the offence. However, it may be a defence that a person does not know that it was illegally accessed.
A person guilty of this offence faces ten years imprisonment before an NT court.
It is an offence for a person to modify or alter data in a computer in a manner that makes them damaged or deceitful. It also includes cases where the person intended to;
A person indicted in this offence is liable to 10 years imprisonment.
For this section, a person can be found guilty of modifying the data if they initiate or cause a chain of events that causes the alteration. A person can be found guilty of this offence if they are rightfully indicted in the Act in any form.
It incurs the same punishment as the original offence (10 years), imprisonment.
It is illegal and a serious charge to impair or affect electronic communication between computers or public devices. It is also an offence to impair or obstruct any computers, especially those restricted in a public space.
Anyone the court finds guilty of this offence is liable to an imprisonment term of up to 10 years imprisonment.
Using the computer time allotted to another person on a computer or telecommunication network is an offence. It is an offence that incurs as much as three years imprisonment for all offenders.
There are various ways a person can be guilty of committing a computer-related offence in the NT. Section 276F of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) lists a crime where the person;
Commits a computer-based offence within the Territory or
The person commits a computer offence anywhere (not necessarily in the Territory) that causes an;
Arguing a computer offence-based crime can be tricky in a court. All parties should be familiar with the technical terms of the matter to preserve accuracy in Court.
For this matter, a computer means;
A single processing device that is either connected to a network or not within a communications system. It also includes several computers being formed or connected in a network or communications system.
A representation or form of information, especially where it is crucial in an aspect. It can be a program or any part of a program.
Speaking of data stored in a computer can be ambiguous unless with the context of the data.
It includes data in a rewritable or external device connected or attached to the computer.
Data held in a storage network of which a computer is a part of
It is the interaction between two connected electronic devices by any form of electrical or electromagnetic energy.
Any form of change or adjustment to data that distorts the original message in any form for whatever purpose is an illegal act. Modification includes;
It is also an offence to cause impairment to an electronic communication system or alter the information they process.
There are many forms of computer or cyber offences in the NT. Most times, forgery, deceit and other crimes are treated under cybercrimes. Section 258 of the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) prohibits all deceitful acts that produce or result in fake documents.
Per the Act, it is a crime for a person in a bid to get a benefit;
It is an offence that attracts as much as seven years imprisonment
A court will hear a matter depending on how grievous it considers the offence under the law. The NT designates the lower courts for less severe issues (Summary offences in the NT), while higher courts hear indictable matters in the NT.
When dealing with summary offences, the law stipulates a minimum period before the prosecutor or complainant files a charge.
If a court concludes a person is guilty of an offence other than the one they are charged with, it will re-commit their offences. It doesn't matter if the new charge is lesser or more severe than the original charge.
While the Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) prescribes the likely penalty, a court can issue more than prescribed where it feels necessary. Similarly, a court can issue alternative sentencing where necessary.
If an individual is found guilty of a Computer Crime offence in the Northern Territory (NT), the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their police clearance check.
Individuals can obtain a nationally coordinated criminal history check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.
Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) - https://legislation.nt.gov.au/en/Legislation/CRIMINAL-CODE-ACT-1983
Technology Safety Australia (Legal Guide to Relevant Criminal Offences in the NT) - https://techsafety.org.au/blog/legal_articles/legal-guide-to-relevant-criminal-offences-in-the-nt/
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