Sabotage

– section 247K of Crimes Act 1958
Man in the Dark With Smoke and Dim Red LightingThe charge was introduced in 2003 in a response to terrorism. A person who threatens to carry out sabotage can also be found guilty of an offence; although it is found under section 247L.

It is a very serious criminal offence that is heard before a Judge in the County Court.
To establish this offence, the Prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused damaged a public facility by committing a property offence or by causing an unauthorised computer function.

The accused must have had intent to cause major disruption to government functions, cause major economic loss or disrupt the use of public services.

Examples of Sabotage
  • Causing a fire to the generators in a power station.
  • Creating a computer bug and implanting it in a government agency computer system.
  • Intentionally disrupting the Victorian transport system.
Questions in cases like this
  • Was there Intent?
  • Was there major disruption?
What are some of the possible defences to Sabotage?

Defences to this could primarily be lack of intent or a factual dispute as to the damage caused by the accused to a public facility. Like other criminal charges, other defences may be found appropriate depending on the circumstances of the case.

You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

County Court
Sabotage has a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment. It is a very serious criminal offence that is heard before a Judge in the County Court.

What is the legal definition of Sabotage?

A person who—

  1. damages a public facility by committing a property offence or by causing an unauthorised computer function; and
  2. intends to cause—
    1. major disruption to government functions; or
    2. major disruption to the use of services by the public; or
    3. major economic loss

is guilty of an offence and liable to level 2 imprisonment (25 years maximum).

Legislation

The legislation for this offence can be found on section 247K of Crimes Act 1958.

Elements of the offence

To establish this offence, the Prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused damaged a public facility by committing a property offence or by causing an unauthorised computer function. The accused must have had the intent of causing major disruption to government functions or to the use of services by the public, or of causing major economic loss.

Other important resources
Media information

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