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Bomb Hoaxes

– section 317A of the Crimes Act 1958

The police use the charge of Bomb Hoaxes when they think someone has made a threat that there is a bomb.

  • A person who wants to cause panic leaves a tin can on a tram with a hand-written label saying ‘BOMB.’
  • A boy has an upcoming exam that he wants to delay. On the day of the exam, he calls and says a bomb has been planted at the school.
  • There was no intention to make the other person think a bomb had been planted.
  • Somebody else made the threat.
We had a client who did not want to sit an exam and so he contacted the school and said there was a bomb. He was otherwise a good young man and did not get a conviction.
Questions in cases like this
  • Was there a misunderstanding about a joke or lack of serious intention?
  • Was there a case of mistaken identity?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with Bomb Hoaxes
The maximum penalty for Bomb Hoaxes is 5 years, or a fine of 600 penalty units ($93, 276), or both.

Bomb Hoaxes is generally heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
As people get more worried about bombs the penalties for this offence increase. The Courts take it far more seriously than they would have 10 years ago.
 
The section that covers this offence is section 317A of the Crimes Act 1958.

What is the legal definition of Bomb Hoaxes?
Legally defined, Bomb Hoaxes means placing a device somewhere, or making a statement of some form, with the intention of making another person believe that an active bomb has been planted.

“Was it you who made the call?”

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
As people get more worried about bombs the penalties for this offence increase. The Courts take it far more seriously than they would have 10 years ago.
 
Sentencing Outcomes in the Magistrates’ Courts1
From July 2013 to June 2016, 62 cases of Bomb Hoax were sentenced in the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria. The majority of the cases resulted in an Adjourned Undertaking / Discharge / Dismissal (32.3%) and Community Correction Order (30.7%).

Other sentencing results include: Imprisonment (14.5%), Fine (14.5%), Partially Suspended Sentence (3.2%), Wholly Suspended Sentence (3.2%), and Others (1.6%).

Of the 9 cases that resulted in imprisonment, most (44.4%) were sentenced to a term of less than 3 months. The longest term imposed was between 6 and 18 months that was imposed in 22.2% of the cases.


[1] SACStat Magistrates’ Courts: Bomb Hoaxes (1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016)