Australia - Crime - bestial*ty penalties in New South Wales (2024)


7 June 2024

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In NSW, bestial*ty is a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

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A 38-year-old Moorland man – who police allege is one ofthe state's worst bestial*ty offender – has been chargedafter police executed a search warrant on his residence.

Colin Baker was arrested on his property, which is about 30kmnorth of Taree, and taken to Taree Police Station, followingextensive investigations into an online profile of a user under thepseudonym 'Beast Boy'.

Officers in an investigation headed by the Sex CrimesSquad's Child Exploitation Internet Unit named 'StrikeForce Trawler' were led to the online profile followinginquiries into the online sharing and promotion of child abuse material in February 2024.

The profile had a large online presence and allegedly utilisedencrypted messaging apps to share bestial*ty material whichfeatured the sexual abuse of various animals.

This included dogs, sheep, goats, chickens, and a deadkangaroo.

Baker has been charged with eight counts of bestial*ty, sixcounts of producing bestial*ty material, four counts ofdisseminating bestial*ty material, as well as possessing childabuse material, and using a carriage service to access and solicitchild abuse material.

During the search of the residence, police seized electronicsand hard drives which will be subject to further forensicexamination, which officers believe may lead to more charges.

A dog which was identified as one of the animals allegedlysexually abused was seized by the RSPCA NSW. Baker's boyfriend,Mick Mepham has since spoken to the media stating he is"shocked and confused" regarding thecharges.

The dog seized was Mepham's, whom he called 'Loppy'.He noted how he loved the dog and that she was a rescue.

"The hardest part is she didn't trust anybody whenI first got her, and it took six months before she would trustme... And to think.... I just want her home." heexplained.

Baker was refused bail by police and appeared at Taree LocalCourt on Tuesday, 30 April 2024 where he was formally refused bail by the court. His next court appearanceis on 8 July 2024.

bestial*ty Penalties in New South Wales

In New South Wales, bestial*ty is criminalised under section 79 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). It carries amaximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

The section prescribes that it is an offence to commit an act ofbestial*ty with any animal.

bestial*ty is not defined in the legislation, but at common law(i.e., through case law authorities). It has been held to consistof any form of sexual intercourse with an animal (as outlined inR v Brown (1889) 24 QBD 357). No particular mode ofpenetration is required.

As outlined in the case of Chesworth v R [2023] NSWCCA115, when an offender is sentenced for offences against animals, itmust be taken into account the vulnerability of a domestic animaland their incapacity to consent or refuse to engage in particularconduct.

An attempt to commit bestial*ty is also criminalised under theAct, instead carrying a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment,as per section 80.

In New South Wales, producing, disseminating, or possessingbestial*ty or animal crush material was criminalised in 2021 afteradvocates pointed out a gap in the law. The bill was introduced bythe Emma Hurst of the Animal Justice Party.

Producing or disseminating bestial*ty or animal crush materialcarries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment, whereaspossessing bestial*ty or animal crush material carries a maximumpenalty of 3 years, as now outlined in section 547E of the Act.

bestial*ty or animal crush material means material that depictsor describes bestial*ty, or an animal being crushed, burned,drowned, suffocated, impaled or otherwise killed or subjected toserious injury.

The material must be such that a reasonable person would regardin all the circ*mstances as being intended or apparently intendedto excite or gratify a sexual interest or excite or gratify asad*stic or other perverted interest in violence or cruelty.

Produce is defined to include filming, photographing, printingor otherwise making the material, as well as altering ormanipulating an image for the purpose of making such material andentering into an agreement or an arrangement to do so.

Disseminating is defined to include sending, supplying,exhibiting, transmitting, communicating, as well as making thematerial available for access by another person, and entering intoan agreement or an arrangement to do so.

A defence will be available where the defendant did not know,and could not reasonably be expected to have known, that thematerial the defendant produced, disseminated, or possessed wasbestial*ty or animal crush material. A finding of 'notguilty' may also be entered where the conduct engaged in by thedefendant was of public benefit and did not extend beyond what wasof public benefit.

The defence may also seek to prove, if the offence involvespossession, that the material came into the defendant'spossession unsolicited and that they took reasonable steps to getrid of it, as soon as they became aware of its nature.

Other defences include:

  • Law enforcement officers acting in the course of their duties,where their conduct was reasonable in the circ*mstances for thepurpose of performing the duty,
  • The conduct engaged in was necessary for or of assistance inconducting scientific, medical, or educational research approved,authorised, or otherwise permitted under a law of the State or ofanother State, a Territory, or the Commonwealth, or
  • The material concerned was classified, whether before or afterthe commission of the alleged offence, under the Classification(Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (Cth), otherthan as refused classification (RC).

bestial*ty, as well as producing, disseminating, or possessingbestial*ty or animal crush material are considered 'strictlyindictable' offences. This means that they must be dealt within the District Court.

The content of this article is intended to provide a generalguide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be soughtabout your specific circ*mstances.

Australia - Crime - bestial*ty penalties in New South Wales (2024)


Australia - Crime - bestial*ty penalties in New South Wales? ›

The offence of larceny is contained in section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900 and carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. However, if the matter is dealt with in the Local Court, the penalties available are subject to limitations depending on the value of the property stolen.

What is the penalty for stealing in New South Wales? ›

The offence of larceny is contained in section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900 and carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. However, if the matter is dealt with in the Local Court, the penalties available are subject to limitations depending on the value of the property stolen.

What is criminal law of Victoria New South Wales and South Australia? ›

Criminal Law of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia is a comprehensive text which explains and examines the fundamental principles of criminal law. It is the only book which discusses and analyses in detail the criminal law in all common law jurisdictions in Australia.

What is the crime of intimidation in New South Wales? ›


(1) A person who stalks or intimidates another person with the intention of causing the other person to fear physical or mental harm is guilty of an offence. : Maximum penalty--Imprisonment for 5 years or 50 penalty units, or both.

What is the finders keepers law in NSW? ›

The law expects the finder to make reasonable efforts to locate the owner before deciding to keep the property. Then, unless the original owner makes a claim, the finder will have the best claim of right over the property.

What happens if you are caught shoplifting in Australia? ›

There are two shoplifting offences. If the value of goods is under $150, the offence is subject to a fine equal to 6 penalty units under the Regulatory Offences Act 1985. If the value of the goods exceeds $150, you could be charged with a more severe offence, such as stealing or fraud.

What is the unique law in Australia? ›

Apparently, it's illegal to be drunk in a pub! In order to swim at Brighton Beach in Melbourne you must wear a neck to knee swimsuit. Gorgeous! You're breaking the law if you wander around Australia with black shoe polish on your face, felt shoes and black clothes because these are the tools of a cat burglar!

What is common law New South Wales? ›

common law – the body of law developed through judges applying the law to the particular facts in individual cases. Where legislation does not cover the specific facts of a case, judges use legal principles and decisions made in similar cases to reach a decision.

What are the major indictable offences in South Australia? ›

Legal Help for all South Australians

Some examples are murder, robbery, rape, unlawful sexual intercourse, dishonesty and damage property offences (including arson) where the amount involved exceeds $30 000. Major indictable offences are all indictable offences which are not minor indictable offences.

What would be the punishment for stealing? ›

A typical misdemeanor larceny sentence would be a small fine and less than a year of prison. Grand larceny has more severe penalties. These violations could also create long-lasting consequences. These include a criminal record or difficulties obtaining jobs in the future.

What happens if you steal something but return it? ›

Most of the time, even if you return a stolen object, you could still face theft charges. But it all depends on what you want. As was previously mentioned, the prosecution must demonstrate that you had the intent to permanently rob the owner of the property when you took it in order to convict you of theft.

What is common law larceny in NSW? ›

The elements of larceny are not listed under the statute, and instead stem from common law (case law). These elements require that a person 'wrongfully took and carried away,' 'the personal goods of another,' 'with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of such property;' and 'without the owner's consent'.

Can you get in trouble for accidentally stealing? ›

In California, if the value of the stolen merchandise stolen is less than $50, it is very likely that the accused may get a warning, slap on the wrist, or an infraction citation. If the merchandise stolen is considered “necessities” such as food items, there is a strong possibility you will not be prosecuted.


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