Good In Custody (Unlawful Possession)


According to section 527C of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), the offence of goods in custody is committed if a person has anything in their custody which may reasonably be suspected of being stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.

An offence of Goods in Custody is to be dealt with in the Local Court.

The nature and elements of the offence of Goods in Custody were considered in the case of Brebner v Seager  [1926] VLR 166 wherein it was held and the thing itself must be suspected of being stolen and not to be the proceeds of the stealing.  



Unlawful Possession can be punished with imprisonment of up to 1 year if it relates to a Motor Vehicle or part of a Motor Vehicle or fine of $1100 or both;

In other cases, Unlawful possession can be punished with imprisonment up to 6 months, or to a fine of $550 or both.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for an unlawful possession charge of:

  • Full-time Imprisonment;
  • An Intensive Correction Order (ICO);
  • A Community Correction Order (CCO);
  • A Fine; and/or
  • A Conditional Release Order (CRO).

For unlawful possession, 17% of offenders received a full-time prison sentence whereas 31% received a good behaviour bond and 39% received a fine.

5% of offenders received a Section 10 – dismissal of charges and no conviction.



Since unlawful possession (Goods in custody) is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution. The prosecution is required to prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt establishing that:

  • You either had Physically possession of the item; or
  • Had possession of an item being held by another person; or
  • Had an item at your place of residence; or
  • Had an item in your possession that you gave or sold to another person; and
  • That item is reasonably suspected of being stolen or unlawfully obtained; and
  • No defence is applicable at law to you.

However, the police do not need to prove whether the item was in fact stolen or unlawfully obtained, only that it is reasonably suspected of being stolen or unlawfully obtained.



Some of the possible defences available for those charged with unlawful possession include:

  • Proving that the goods were not in fact stolen or unlawfully obtained;
  • To show that you had in fact lawfully obtained the item, for example by purchasing it or having a legitimate claim of right;
  • To argue that you were not physically in possession of an item;
    • had not given an item which you were in possession of to someone else temporarily;
    • did not have the item in your possession at your home; OR
    • did not have the item in your possession and that you did not give or sell it to someone else; or
  • 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”.



For Goods in Custody, Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® offers the following options:

  1. We initiate negotiation with prosecutors (police) (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 charged with an offence, 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.


Speak to a Lawyer

Get a free Consultation