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  • Trespass Offences and Penalties in Tasmania

    One of the many offences against a person’s privacy and fundamental rights in Australia is trespassing against the person’s property. The Police Offences Act 1935 (Tas) states the conditions and descriptions of various circumstances that lead to the offence.

    Trespassing is usually an ambiguous term/charge in Tasmania laws. The jury may even include a trespass offence sentencing in a court proceeding if any evidence points to the person guilty of the act. A person can be guilty of a trespass offence in various ways and are explained by the following sections under the Division IA of the Police Act.

    If an individual is convicted in a Tasmanian court for a Trespass offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a national criminal background check in Tasmania.

    Penalties for trespassing offences

    Trespass offences are usually treated summarily before a Magistrate (Local) court, unless for aggravating circumstances. Therefore, sentencing for such offences is usually less severe and may even be settled with fines and alternative sentencing.

    However, if the trespass offence is a conduit to other serious offences, the matter may be transferred to higher courts like the District court.

    • Peering into dwelling-house
    • It is against common sense and violation for a person to without reasonable excuse;
    • Look or scan into the window or any opening of a known dwelling, or
    • Loiter, stalk or explore any land or property around a dwelling.

    Any person who contravenes any of these orders is guilty of an offence that incurs

    • Five penalty units
    • Six months imprisonment

    Unlawful entry into a premise

    A person must not get into or stay in a property without the owner's consent of such a premise. It includes all actions where the person;

    • Remains on,
    • Charges into,
    • Dwells on,
    • Or engage in any other action on a property (usually land) without the consent of the owner

    This is an offence under section 14B of the Police Offences Act 1935 (Tas) that carries an imprisonment term of;

    If the person trespasses onto land, structure or other prememis;

    • 25 penalty units or
    • Six months imprisonment

    If the person trespasses or remina onto a dwelling or a house;

    • 50 penalty units, or
    • 12 months imprisonment

    Where the person possesses a firearm on entry

    If the court finds through evidence that the person was in possession of a firearm during the actual commission of the offence, the sentencing increases to 100 penalty units and about two years imprisonment.

    The court will also likely order the offender to forfeit any firearm or weapon to the crown. And in relevant cases, cancel all licences or permits the person holds under the Firearms Act 1996 (Tas).

    The person made use of an aircraft, vessel or vehicle

    The court can issue sentencing up to double the usual amount if it finds evidence that the offender used a vehicle or transport vehicle of any means.

    Also, if a person complains about a trespassing offence in court, the court may order the Police officer to enter such premises and restore the rights to the owner.

    A Police officer may, following subsection 5 of s14B of the Police Offences Act 1935 (Tas), enter a premise or property without a warrant if they believe a person to be trespassing or committing related offences.

    Refusal to provide helpful information on legitimate questions

    Section 14C of the Police Offences Act 1935 (Tas) allows the owner or legal possessor of a property or land to question a suspected trespasser about their names and relevant information. Anyone who fails to comply with any such instruction is guilty of an offence under the Act.

    It is an offence that incurs penalties not exceeding two penalty units

    Dispersal of persons

    It is under the Police according to section 15B of the Police Offences Act 1935 (Tas) for an officer to;

    Disperse a person or group likely to commit an offence or any other violations. It includes where such activities will culminate in

    • ✔ trespassing,
    • ✔ constituting nuisance
    • ✔ Public disturbance
    • ✔ Obscene show
    • ✔ Obstructing traffic

    It is an offence to disobey such direct orders from a Police officer. It incurs a penalty of up to 2 penalty units.

    Graffiti and graffiti equipment

    It is considered an offence for a person to mark or spray graffiti on a public wall without a reasonable excuse. Such offence incurs fines not exceeding 20 penalty units

    It is a violation to sell or distribute such graffiti materials without a lawful reason. Any form of distribution or supply of the graffiti material attracts 20 penalty units.

    Damage to properties

    Another more severe mode of trespassing can be that a person defaces or desecrates a place. Injuring, damaging or spoiling another person's property attracts a severe penalty of

    Ten penalty units in fine amounts and 12 months imprisonment

    Removing public materials

    It is also an offence to remove, deface, displace or adjust any public material like;

    • ✔ Beacon,
    • ✔ Milestone,
    • ✔ Signpost
    • ✔ Survey mark
    • ✔ Boundary mark

    It is an offence that incurs penalties as many as two penalty units. It is also an offence to unlawful damage and thereby interfere with public/council works.

    Trespassing into a sports area

    It is an offensive act for a person to enter a restricted area in a sports environment without lawful excuse. A person found guilty of such offence is liable to a summary court hearing, a sentence to penalty of

    • Three penalty units, or
    • Three months imprisonment

    Section 19A of the Police Offences Act 1935 (Tas)further finds a person guilty of a similar offence if a person enters;

    • An area where the sport is ongoing or a game is conducted
    • Where sports are to be or has already been conducted

    For this section, a Police officer can arrest the guilty person without a warrant. However, the officer must consider if the person trespassing will or has interrupted the gameplay.

    Will a Trespass Offence in Tasmania show up on a national criminal background check?

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

    Individuals can obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

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