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Deprivation Of Liberty

Potts Lawyers > Criminal Law  > Other Criminal Law Offences > Deprivation Of Liberty

Being accused of unlawfully keeping someone against their will is a serious matter in Queensland. If you’re facing this charge, it’s important to understand what it means and what could happen next.

What the law says

In Australia, unlawful deprivation of liberty refers to the confinement or detention of a person against their will or keeping them subject to continuous supervision. This can occur in various settings and doesn’t require physical restraint. The key element is the absence of lawful justification for restricting a person’s freedom of movement or choice.

Sections 355 of the Criminal Code Queensland states:

Any person who unlawfully confines or detains another in any place against the person’s will, or otherwise unlawfully deprives another of the other person’s personal liberty, is guilty of a misdemeanour.

Lawful Deprivation of Liberty

There are circumstances where deprivation of liberty may be legal. These include:

  • Arrest and detention: Law enforcement can detain individuals based on a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, following specific procedures outlined in legislation.
  • Imprisonment: A court-ordered sentence for a criminal conviction.
  • Mental health legislation: Involuntary committal to a mental health facility under specific legal provisions to protect the person or others.
  • Child protection legislation: Detention of a minor under court order to ensure their safety and well-being.

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.

The accused:

  1. Unlawfully;
  2. Confined or detained another person in any place;
  3. Against the other person’s will.


Or the accused:

  1. Unlawfully;
  2. Deprived another person of personal liberty.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.

Possible Consequences

In Queensland, unlawfully taking away someone’s freedom is a crime. If found guilty, you could face up to 3 years in jail. This is based on Section 355 of the Criminal Code 1899.

However, the court considers many factors when deciding the penalty. These include:

  • Why the offence happened
  • What exactly took place
  • If there were threats or violence involved
  • Your past criminal record
  • Whether you knew the person
  • How long the person was detained
  • If there are other charges, like assault or a domestic violence order violation

It’s important to note that jail time is not always the outcome. In many cases (around half), the court might give a suspended sentence or probation. This means you wouldn’t go to jail but could face other consequences.

If the offence involved domestic violence, the police or court might also issue a domestic violence order to protect the victim.

Maximum penalty

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Deprivation of liberty is 3 years imprisonment

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is indictable which can only be dealt with in the District Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

The accused

  1. Duress
  2. Necessity
  3. Insanity
  4. Intoxication
  5. Honest and reasonable belief the person was consenting.
  6. The complainant was free to leave
  7. The complainant consented

Get Legal Advice

If you have been charged with deprivation of liberty or any other criminal offence, it’s important to get help from a Criminal Defence Lawyer. Contact our dedicated team of criminal lawyers in Brisbane and the Gold Coast to book an initial consultation and get help and advice on your legal matter.

Do you need legal help or consultance? Contact us now.

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