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Unauthorised Modification of Data to Cause Impairment (Commonwealth)

– section 477.2 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code 1995

Unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment is a serious Commonwealth offence which may mean you serve a term of imprisonment if found guilty. This charge is generally laid in situations where a person modifies data to impair the operation of the data. For instance, something is changed to a data set which effects the end result.
unauthorised modification of data
This offence is heard in the County Court before a judge and jury.
Examples of Unauthorised Modification of Data to Cause Impairment (Commonwealth)
  • Sending a virus to a government body’s computer intending to cause an impairment.
What is the legal definition of Unauthorised Modification of Data to Cause Impairment (Commonwealth)?
Section 308A of the Commonwealth Code defines ‘modification’ of data as deleting and/or removing data.

The legislation for this offence can be found on section 477.2 of Criminal Code Act 1995.

Elements of the offence
To prove this charge the Prosecution must show that the accused:

  1. caused a modification of data held in a computer,
  2. that the accused knew the modification was unauthorised,
“Can the Prosecution prove that the modification was unauthorised?”
  1. that the accused intended to or was reckless as to impairing access to or impairing the reliability, security or operation of any data held in a computer,
  2. The data that is modified must either be held in a Commonwealth computer or held on behalf of the Commonwealth in a computer.

Defences to this charge can include can include a factual dispute, the fact that the accused was authorised, or a lack of intent.

You should call us and discuss your case with one of our criminal defence lawyers if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has huge implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Questions in cases like this
  • Did you have authority to modify the data?
  • Did you intend to cause an impairment to the data system?
  • Did you in fact modify data?
  • Did your modification cause the impairment?

This offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Case studies related to Unauthorised Modification of Data to Cause Impairment (Commonwealth)