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Convicted offenders are a potential danger to society, not just in the actions they have perpetrated to earn them so, but in the negative perception among the community. In the state of Western Australia, it is an offence to be found in open association or consorting with a known offender unless in some instances.
The offence of Consorting is explained and well detailed with the relevant penalties in the Criminal Law (Unlawful Consorting and prohibited Insignia) Act 2021 (WA). Division 2 and section 9 of the Act makes it lawful for the Police or other authorised personnel to issue an unlawful consorting notice to any person found consorting.
If an individual is convicted in a Western Australian (WA) court for a Consorting offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a national criminal background check in Western Australia.
The officer may issue a consorting notice to a person with regards to a convicted offender if;
The Police officer can issue a consorting notice or warning within or outside the state as long as such offender consorted with a known offender who is convicted of an indictable offence.
An unlawful consorting notice can be issued orally or in writing depending on which the officer considers most appropriate at the time. The officer should also explain the contents, obligations and consequences of such notices under the law in a language familiar to the recipient.
An unlawful notice is valid for three years by section 13(2) of the Act unless;
Section 17 of this Act prohibited all forms of consorting, especially after a person has received a warning from an authorised officer. The person is guilty of a consorting crime under this Act if;
However, if the matter is heard summarily in a lower court in WA, it can incur a penalty of 2 years imprisonment.
The prosecution does not have to prove to the court that;
Section 18 of the Criminal Law (Unlawful Consorting and prohibited Insignia) Act 2021 (WA) provides a form of defence for the person charged with a consorting offence. Although consorting can be a severe offence (primarily if not handled summarily), there are still many ways the accused person can escape receiving a sentence for the crime.
Subsection 1 of section 18 stipulates that an accused person may state consorting with "family members". And may also prove that such association was necessary and not harmful for any other person.
The Act allows the accused to claim a defence to the charge that rather than an offence of consorting, they were;
Subsection 3 negates all these defences to be unreasonable or not relevant if the purpose of the consorting was to;
Section 19 of the Criminal Law (Unlawful Consorting and prohibited Insignia) Act 2021 (WA) describes the authorities of the Police in dealing with consorting offences. A Police officer who, suspecting a consorting offence can;
The Act makes it an offence that a person willfully disregards the orders or instructions of a Police regarding a consorting charge.
It is an offence that incurs up to 12 months imprisonment with $12,000 for such offenders.
It is an an offence for a person to without reason;
Especially when the materials relate to the personal details of the convicted offender, it is an offence that incurs a penalty as high as 12 months imprisonment or $12,000 in fines.
A person may also be charged with other offences that, on close consideration, may not constitute a consorting offence. Section 25 of the Act makes it an offence for a person to display the insignia or logo of an ‘identified organisation’ (e.g. a recognised criminal organisation) in a public space.
Anyone the court finds guilty of this offence is liable to punishments of;
If the guilty party is a corporate body, the person is guilty of an offence that incurs $60,000 in fines.
If an individual is found guilty of a consorting offence in WA, 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 Law (Unlawful Consorting and prohibited Insignia) Act 2021 (WA) - https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/law_a147321.html
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