Dishonesty Offences – Computer Hacking and Misuse

Our experienced criminal law solicitors have prepared a brief overview of the law relating to computer hacking and misuse.  If you or someone you care about is facing a charge of computer hacking and misuse, you need specific advice and should contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on 55800120 for advice.

For more information on other criminal charges, visit our DISHONESTY OFFENCES.

Computer Hacking and Misuse – The Law

Section 408E of the Criminal Code of Queensland creates the offence of computer hacking and misuse.  The section provides:

A person who uses a restricted computer without the consent of the computer’s controller commits an offence.

If the person causes or intends to cause detriment or damage, or gains or intends to gain a benefit, the person commits a crime.

If the person causes a detriment or damage or obtains a benefit for any person to the value of more than $5,000, or intends to commit an indictable offence, the person commits a crime.

Elements of the offence

To be found guilty of the offence of computer hacking and misuse, the prosecution is required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following elements:

  1. The accused used a restricted computer
  2. Without the consent of the computer’s controller.

Circumstances of aggravation

  • The accused intends or does cause a detriment or damage
  • The value is more than $5000.00

Maximum penalty

The maximum penalty for the an allegation of computer hacking and misuse is – 2 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty is increased where one of the following circumstances is made out:

  1. If the person causes or intends to cause detriment or damage, or gains or intends to gain a benefit – 5 years imprisonment.
  2. person causes a detriment or damage, or obtains a benefit for any person to the value of more than $5,000, or intends to commit an indictable offence – 10 years imprisonment

Jurisdiction – Where will the matter be heard?

The offence of computer hacking and misuse is an indictable offence.

The charge will initially be commenced in the Magistrates Court, and will ultimately  proceed on Indictment and be finalised in the District Court of Queensland.

Conviction – Does a conviction have to be recorded?

The sentencing Court has a discretion whether or not to record a conviction against you for the offence of computer hacking and misuse.  Generally a conviction would be recorded for this type of offence, although one is not inevitable.

The relevant factors are set out in section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, and include, the nature of the offence, the offenders character and age, together with the impact the recording a conviction would have on the offenders chances of finding employment. If you are concerned about a conviction being recorded on you or a loved you should seek legal advice.

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

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