Failure To Provide Necessities of Life


The law on this offence is found in section 44 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) that states:

‘A person who is under a legal duty to provide another person with the necessities of life, and who, without reasonable excuse, intentionally xor recklessly fails to provide that person with the necessities of life,

is guilty of an offence if the failure causes a danger of death or causes serious injury, or the likelihood of serious injury, to that person’.

The nature and elements of the what is a reasonable excuse were considered in Taikato v R (1996) 186 CLR 454 at 464. In that case it was held that what is a reasonable excuse depends not only on the circumstances of the individual case but also on the purpose of the proviso to which the defence of “reasonable excuse” is an exception.


Maximum/Possible Penalties

The maximum penalty for the charge of failure to provide necessities of life (Section 44 of the Crimes Act) can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 2 years (if heard in the Local Court) or up to 5 years (If heard in the District Court).

Please note these penalties are reserved for the worst kind of offending and are unlikely to be what you would receive.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Failure to provide necessities of life charge.

·        Full time Imprisonment

·        Intensive Corrections Order (ICO)

·        Community Correction Order (CCO)

·        Conditional release Order (CRO) (ie: bond)



Since Failure to provide necessities of life offence is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution. The prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt being;

·        You were legally liable to provide the victim with the necessities of life;

·        You intentionally or recklessly neglected to provide the necessities of life to the victim.

·        Your failure caused a danger of death or serious injury, or the likelihood of serious injury, to the victim.

·        Your acts were without reasonable excuse.

·        They will also need to prove that you were the person who committed the failure to provide necessities of life offence, and the serious injury or likelihood of the same.



Some of the possible defences available can include;

·        If you were compelled to act in a certain way due to the circumstances, or the threats of another you may be able to argue "Duress";

·        If your actions were necessary to prevent a greater harm from occurring, you may have the defence of "Necessity".

·        If you were defending yourself or another OR yours or another’s property you may have a Defence of Self-Defence. Many people misunderstand what the limits of Self-defence can be.

·        It was not your legal duty; or

·        The likelihood of serious injury was absent; and/or if there was an serious injury the cause was not related to the failure to provide the necessities of life; or

You had a reasonable excuse.



For Failure to provide necessities of life, Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® offers the following options:

  1. We initiate negotiation with prosecutors (police/DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) and plead to withdrawal or downgrade of the charge or alternatively, seek amendments to the police fact sheets or documents.
  2. At the hearing/trial, Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® shall if you so instruct Plead Not Guilty and drive the argument based on prosecution’s inability to prove the elements of their accusation.
  3. Alternatively, Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® may plead guilty on your instructions however, the hearing shall revolve around the facts with an objective to obtain a moderate or minimum punishment.
  4. Lastly, Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® on your instructions enter a plea of guilt where you accept all the charges pressed by the police, but we present a case so solid on your behalf, with an objective to persuade and convince the Court to not record a criminal conviction against you.

For further information on your choices at law click on (CHOICES AT LAW tab on our website)



There are several reasons to engage Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers®:

  •  We are always in your corner

At Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® we understand the gravity of a criminal charge on your reputation. Thus, we work with the utmost diligence and fervour to restore any dints to our client’s repute. We fight for your rights and liberty earnestly, and for the best results, irrespective of the intensity of the matter. All these factors have made us known in the industry as always being in our client’s corner. 

  •  We bring about excellent results

Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® is driven by positive outcomes and defend your case with skills which have been sharpened by years of experience. You will be dealing with lawyers who are proficient at their craft and will defend your case with rigour and an aim to have the matter withdrawn, downgraded, dismissed or the minimal penalty available at law imposed.

Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® are adept in all forms of advocacy and will present your case in the most skilful manner in Court. 

  • Your case will be in the hands of an experienced lawyer

Irrespective of your decision in deciding the course of the case, you will be supported and guided by Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® who have been in the provision of legal service for over 21 years. 

If you are caught up in this charge our team at Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® are best suited for representing your case.

Please contact our office on 0419 998 398 or 0492 857 721 or email for more information. The first consultation is free.


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