Unauthorised Access to a computer or network offences Victoria

This article will outline what constitutes unauthorized access in Victoria, how charges are laid, the court process, and potential penalties.

The digital era has brought a host of new challenges to the legal landscape, and one of the most prominent is the issue of unauthorized access to computer systems and data. In Victoria, Australia, this is considered a serious offence and can result in significant penalties, including imprisonment.

What is Unauthorised Access?

Unauthorized access, as defined under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), involves gaining access to a computer, computer network, or any part of a computer system without permission. This could involve accessing someone’s email account, social media profiles, or any other online accounts without their consent. It also includes accessing confidential or proprietary data stored on a computer or network without authorization.

Charges and Court Process

Charges for unauthorized access in Victoria are laid under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), specifically Section 247G. This section states that a person is guilty of an offence if they intentionally gain access to, or cause any data to be accessed, in a computer, knowing that they are not authorized to do so.

Once charges are laid, the accused will be required to appear in court to face the charges. The court process will typically involve several stages, including a first appearance, a committal hearing, and a trial. The first appearance is when the accused is formally charged and enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the accused pleads not guilty, the matter will proceed to a committal hearing, where the magistrate will decide if there is enough evidence for the matter to proceed to trial. If the matter proceeds to trial, the prosecution and defense will present their cases, and the judge or jury will deliver a verdict.


The penalties for unauthorized access in Victoria can be severe. Under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), the maximum penalty for unauthorized access to data is 2 years imprisonment. However, the actual penalty imposed will depend on several factors, including the nature and severity of the offence, the offender’s criminal history, and any other relevant circumstances.


Unauthorised access to computer systems and data is a serious offence in Victoria, Australia, and can result in significant penalties, including imprisonment. If you are facing charges of unauthorised access, it is crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible to understand your rights and options.