– section 49F of the Summary Offences Act 1966
The offence of Consorting is when the Police think that you, on a regular basis, associate with someone who the Police think is involved in organised crime or who has been convicted of an organised crime offence.
Examples of Consorting
- The police think that your friend is involved in a drug gang and you often meet up with this friend.
- Your friend was convicted of organising illegal prostitution or pornography and you often speak to this friend.
Young Koori clients were served consorting notices for visiting each other. Given the family relationships and living arrangements, it was impossible to avoid consorting, and the Magistrate struck out the all of the charges.
What are some of the possible defences to a Consorting charge?
- The person the police think you associate with is not involved in organised crime.
- You do not associate with the person the police think is involved in organised crime.
- You have associated with the person the police think is involved in organised crime but you have a good reason for doing so.
- You have associated with the person the police think is involved in organised crime but you do not regularly associate with this person.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.
Questions that are asked in cases like this:
- Was I associating?
- How do I prove that I had a reasonable excuse for associating with this person?
Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge
The maximum penalty for this charge is 2 years imprisonment.
“Were you actually consorting?”
What is the legal definition of Consorting?
Normally, the police serve a consorting notice to say who you should not be associating with.
The section that covers this offence is section 49F of the Summary Offences Act 1966.1
What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
You could be sentenced to imprisonment for the charge. However, as in our case with the Koori youth, there was no punishment.
 Summary Offences Act 1966 – Section 49F
(2) The accused bears the burden of proving reasonable excuse for habitual consorting to which a charge of an offence against subsection (1) relates.
(3) In this section— organised crime offence means an indictable offence against the law of Victoria, irrespective of when the offence was or is suspected to have been committed, that is punishable by level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum) or more and that—
(a) involves 2 or more offenders; and
(b) involves substantial planning and organisation; and
(c) forms part of systemic and continuing criminal activity; and
(d) has a purpose of obtaining profit, gain, power or influence.