Dishonestly Cause a Loss

– section 135.1(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995
dishonestly cause a loss

 

This offence means doing something that results in a loss or risk of a loss to a Commonwealth organisation.

Examples of Dishonestly Cause a Loss
  • A woman working for the Commonwealth Department of Defence leaks important intelligence documents to the media which then become public
  • A former Minister for a Commonwealth Department uses funds from the Department for his political campaign
What are some of the possible defences to a Dishonestly Cause a Loss charge?
  • You did not cause a loss or a risk of loss
  • There was no loss or risk of loss

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 in cases like this
  • Was there a loss to a Commonwealth organisation?
  • Was there a risk of loss?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 5 years.

This offence could be heard in the Magistrates’ Court or the County Court, depending on the severity of the offence.

“Did you dishonestly cause a loss?”
What is the legal definition of Dishonestly Cause a Loss?

Intentionally and dishonestly causing a loss, or a risk of loss, to a Commonwealth entity.

Legislation

The section that covers this offence is section 135.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.1

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

In cases where the loss is extensive and significant you may face a prison sentence. However, a fine or a Community Corrections Order is more likely for causing a loss that is not significant.

Case Studies

[1] Criminal Code Act 1995 – Section 135.1(3)

Causing a loss
(3) A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person does anything with the intention of dishonestly causing a loss to another person; and
(b) the other person is a Commonwealth entity.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.
(4) In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (3), it is not necessary to prove that the defendant knew that the other person was a Commonwealth entity.
(5) A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person dishonestly causes a loss, or dishonestly causes a risk of loss, to another person; and
(b) the first-mentioned person knows or believes that the loss will occur or that there is a substantial risk of the loss occurring; and
(c) the other person is a Commonwealth entity.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.
(6) Absolute liability applies to the paragraph (5)(c) element of the offence.