Loitering with Intent to Commit an Indictable Offence

– section 49B of the Summary Offences Act 1966

Loitering with Intent to Commit an Indictable Offence is when someone is a known offender. They are found hanging around a place and acting in a suspicious way, as though they are about to commit a crime.

Examples of Loitering with Intent to Commit an Indictable Offence
  • A well-known drug dealer is found standing on a corner known to be a place where drug deals take place. The dealer walks towards a car where there is a supply of ice inside the car.
  • A woman convicted multiple times of theft is found outside a jewellery store tampering with window fittings.
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of Loitering with Intent to Commit an Indictable Offence?
  • You were not loitering.
  • You did not intend to commit a crime.
  • You have a lawful reason for your conduct.

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
  • What were you doing when the Police found you?
  • Can they prove you were intending to commit a crime?

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Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years.

Loitering with intent to commit an indictable offence is heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

“Can they prove you intended to commit a crime?”
What is the legal definition of Loitering with Intent to Commit an Indictable Offence?

The Prosecution must prove that you are a known or reputed thief or known or reputed to have committed drug-related offences. That you were loitering with the intent to commit a crime, and you engaged in conduct to commit a crime.

Legislation

The section that covers this offence is section 49B of the Summary Offences Act 1966.1

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

Depending on what you were doing at the time the Police found you, and your prior record, in serious cases you could get imprisonment. For less serious cases you may only get a fine or a Community Corrections Order.

Other Important Resources
Case studies related to Loitering with Intent to Commit an Indictable Offence

 


[1] Summary Offences Act 1966 – Section 49B

(1) A person who—
(a) is a known or reputed thief or is known or reputed to have committed drug-related offences; and
(b) is loitering in a public place; and
(c) is so loitering with intent to commit an indictable offence; and
(d) while so loitering engages in conduct in the furtherance of the commission of that indictable offence—
is guilty of an offence and liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years.
(2) In a proceeding for an offence against subsection (1), the informant may give or produce evidence—
(a) to prove that the accused is a known or reputed thief or is known or reputed to have committed drug-related offences; or
(b) to rebut any evidence (including evidence as to general character) given by or on behalf of the accused.