Receiving Stolen Property in NSW: Offence Details, Penalties, Jurisdiction, and Case Examples
In New South Wales (NSW), dealing with stolen property, either by receiving, possessing, or disposing of it, is a serious crime that the law severely treats. Such offences can have far-reaching consequences, not only for those who steal but also for those who, knowingly or unknowingly, handle these stolen items. This article elucidates the offence’s nuances, the associated penalties, and the jurisdiction and offers real-world examples.
The Offence Defined
Under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), Section 188 stipulates that receiving or disposing of stolen property, or property that proceeds a crime, is a punishable offence. To secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant:
- Received, disposed of, or had any property stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained in their possession.
- Knew or believed the property was stolen or unlawfully obtained.
The penalties can vary based on the value of the stolen property and other circumstantial factors:
- If the property’s value does not exceed $5,000: Imprisonment for up to 2 years.
- If the property’s value exceeds $5,000: Imprisonment for up to 10 years.
Receiving stolen property offences are generally dealt with in the Local Court. However, if the property’s value is significant or there are other aggravating factors, the case might be heard in the District Court, where the potential penalties are higher.
a. 2017, Sydney: A pawnbroker was found guilty of receiving and selling stolen jewellery. Investigations revealed that the items, taken from a series of burglaries, were sold to him at prices well below their market value. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.
b. 2019, Newcastle: An antique store owner was convicted for possessing and selling rare antiques that were reported stolen from various estates. Although she claimed ignorance, evidence indicated she had been aware of their dubious provenance. She received a 3-year sentence.
The act of receiving stolen property, whether through deliberate participation or negligence in verifying the origin of goods, is a grave offence in NSW. The penalties are significant and can result in long-term imprisonment. Those accused of such crimes and potential buyers of second-hand goods should be acutely aware of the laws and potential repercussions. It’s always recommended to seek legal counsel if faced with accusations or if in doubt about the legality of an item’s provenance.