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

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

Corrupting Benefits Given To, or Received By, a Commonwealth Public Official is an offence found in section 142.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995. It is a criminal offence committed by a person who has either dishonestly provided a benefit or offered to provide a benefit to another person. It must be intended for the benefit to influence a Commonwealth public official in the exercise of their duties.

Further, this offence may also be committed by a Commonwealth public official who has dishonestly asked for, received, or agreed to receive a benefit for themselves or for another person as a bribe.

Have you been accused of Corrupting Benefits Given To, or Received By, a Commonwealth Public Official? You must arrange a conference with one of our specialist criminal defence lawyers to ask your important legal questions.

Police Interview
Have you been contacted by Police? Maybe you suspect they will contact you soon? You should contact a lawyer to obtain legal advice before attending a Police Interview. An interview is part of the Police investigation and they will be aiming to gather evidence to be used against you. We can explain your rights and may be able to accompany you to the interview.

You may want to ask:

  • Should I answer their questions?
  • Will they leave me alone if I answer their questions?
  • Do I need to give them access to my mobile phone?
Pleading Not Guilty
We are experienced at carefully examining briefs of evidence, looking for issues in the Police case and preparing your defence. There are various ways to fight this charge. For example, you may be able to argue that you never gave or offered a benefit to an official. We work to investigate the allegations ourselves, looking for evidence that may support your defence. Our lawyers’ proactive approach to defending clients charged with the charge of Corrupting Benefits Given To, or Received By, a Commonwealth Public Official, can lead to charges being withdrawn or an acquittal.

Pleading Guilty
If you decide to plead guilty, we work to resolve the case on the most favourable basis possible. There may be negotiations with the prosecution about the summary of offending or details of the charge. We can recommend beneficial courses and counselling if appropriate. We can also gather character references and information as to your personal history to put forward in Court.
  • 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.

Example:
  • 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.