Section 93X of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) provides that a person who:
(a) habitually consorts with convicted offenders; and
(b) consorts with those convicted offenders after having been given an official warning in relation to each of those convicted offenders, is guilty of an offence.
A person does NOT habitually consort with convicted offenders unless--
(a) the person consorts with at least 2 convicted offenders (whether on the same or separate occasions), and
(b) the person consorts with each convicted offender on at least 2 occasions.
The nature and elements of consorting were considered in Johanson v Dixon(1979) 143 CLR 376 which held that the word “consort” means to “associate “or “keeps company” and denotes some acceptance of the association. There is no need for the prosecution to prove any particular purpose of the consorting.
Therefore, consorting is when you on a regular basis (at lease 2 occassions), associate with someone who the Police think is involved in organised crime or who has been convicted of an organised crime offence.
Police must give you one warning before they can charge you with consorting.
Consorting can include:
Consorting can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 2 years (if heard in the Local Court) or up to 3 years (If heard in the District Court) or a fine of 16,500, or both.
Please note that the penalties mentioned are reserved for the worse case offending and are unlikely to be the penalty you receive.
In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Consorting charge:
Since consorting is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution. The prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:
Some of the possible defences available for those charged with consorting can include:
If the defendant satisfies the court that the consorting was reasonable in the circumstances, then they will be found not guilty:
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