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Corrupting Benefits Given To, or Received By, a Commonwealth Public Official

You have either given a benefit or offered to give a benefit to a Commonwealth Public Official. Or you are a Commonwealth Public Official and have asked for or received a benefit.

  • An international construction company want to build high rise apartments in central Melbourne. A representative from the company invites the Head of the Department of Planning to dinner and gifts them with a rare bottle of wine.
  • A Federal Official is on holiday overseas and accepts luxury accommodation for free from a hotel franchise with links to the foreign government.
  • An employee in the Ministry for Immigration accepts a bribe from a journalist in return for media worthy information on detention centres.
  • You never gave anything to a Commonwealth public official.
  • The conduct is required by law in the foreign official’s country.
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:
  • Were they a Commonwealth public official?
  • Was the gift / hospitality more than a ‘token value’?
  • How do they prove the corrupt benefit was given?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for the offence of Corrupting Benefits Given To, or Received By, a Commonwealth Public Official (s142.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995) is imprisonment for 5 years.

This is a very serious offence which is heard in the County Court.

What is the legal definition of Corrupting Benefits Given To, or Received By, a Commonwealth Public Official?
Dishonestly providing a benefit, causing a benefit to be provided, or offering a benefit to be provided to a person who is a Commonwealth Public Official. Where the charge is that of receiving a corrupting benefit, the Prosecution must show that a Commonwealth Public Official dishonestly asked for a benefit, or received, or agreed to receive a benefit from another person.

“Was there a corrupt benefit?”

The Law
The section that covers this offence is section 142.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
These charges are very serious and if found guilty, you may face imprisonment. However if the gift or conduct is only of a minor value, that would be reflected in the sentencing and a fine is more likely.