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Unauthorised Impairment Of Electronic Communication

Potts Lawyers > Criminal Law  > Commonwealth Offences > Unauthorised Impairment Of Electronic Communication

What the law says

Sections 477.3 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code states:

(1) A person is guilty an offence if:

(a) the person causes any unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer ; and

(b) the person knows the impairment is unauthorised; and

(c) one or both of the following applies:

(i) the electronic communication is sent to or from the computer by means of a carriage service;

(ii) the electronic communication is sent to or from a Commonwealth computer.

(2) Absolute liability applies to paragraph (1)©

What the police must prove

In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

1. The accused the person caused any unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer.

2. the person knows the impairment is unauthorised; and

3. one or both of the following applies:

(i) the electronic communication is sent to or from the computer by means of a carriage service;

(ii) the electronic communication is sent to or from a Commonwealth computer.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.

Maximum penalty

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Unauthorised Impairment of Electronic Communication is 10 years imprisonment.

A conviction for an offence against this section is an alternative verdict to a charge for an offence against section 477.2 (unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment)

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is Commonwealth Offence which means it is dealt with in the Supreme Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. The accused did not cause any unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer.
  2. The person did not know the impairment is unauthorised; and
  3. One or both of the following applies:
    (i) the electronic communication is not sent to or from the computer by means of a carriage service;
    (ii) the electronic communication is not sent to or from a Commonwealth computer.

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