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

– section 142.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995

corrupting benefits given to received by 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.

Examples of Corrupting Benefits Given To, or Received By, a Commonwealth Public Official
  • 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.
What are some of the possible defences to a Corrupting Benefits Given To, or Received By, a Commonwealth Public Official charge?
  • 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 this offence is imprisonment for 5 years.

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

“Was there a corrupt benefit?”
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.

The Law

The section that covers this offence is section 142.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.1

prison penalty sentencing

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.

Other Important Resources

 


[1] Criminal Code Act 1995 – Section 142.1

Giving a corrupting benefit
(1) A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person dishonestly:
(i) provides a benefit to another person; or
(ii) causes a benefit to be provided to another person; or
(iii) offers to provide, or promises to provide, a benefit to another person; or
(iv) causes an offer of the provision of a benefit, or a promise of the provision of a benefit, to be made to another person; and
(b) the receipt, or expectation of the receipt, of the benefit would tend to influence a public official (who may be the other person) in the exercise of the official’s duties as a public official; and
(c) the public official is a Commonwealth public official; and
(d) the duties are duties as a Commonwealth public official.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.
(2) In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (1), it is not necessary to prove that the defendant knew:
(a) that the official was a Commonwealth public official; or
(b) that the duties were duties as a Commonwealth public official.
Receiving a corrupting benefit
(3) A Commonwealth public official commits an offence if:
(a) the official dishonestly:
(i) asks for a benefit for himself, herself or another person; or
(ii) receives or obtains a benefit for himself, herself or another person; or
(iii) agrees to receive or obtain a benefit for himself, herself or another person; and
(b) the receipt, or expectation of the receipt, of the benefit would tend to influence a Commonwealth public official (who may be the first-mentioned official) in the exercise of the official’s duties as a Commonwealth public official.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.
Benefit in the nature of a reward
(4) For the purposes of subsections (1) and (3), it is immaterial whether the benefit is in the nature of a reward.