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Monday, October 25, 2010

Offences against the State

Laws are not necessarily fair or just. The moral stand of the lawmaker is not always the same as the moral stand of society (or at least of the great majority of people).
Individuals may feel that some laws are very unjust and that it would go against their moral principles if they were to obey them. Such a situation causes many people to break laws, and so to commit crimes against the state. In extreme cases, such dilemmas can cause people to commit very serious crimes, including treason and sedition.
Under the Commonwealth Criminal Code treason has two aspects. Section 80.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) makes it an offence to cause the death of, or harm to, the Sovereign, the heir apparent, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister.  It also encompasses levying war against the Commonwealth of Australia and assisting an enemy at war with Australia.
Case Law Roach v Electoral Commissioner [2007] HCA 43
       Please try to search for the case above Using Austlii (  After trying, if you still could not find it follow the link below.
       Please summarise the case and highlight the treason aspects in this case.
       Give an opinion based on your study.
       Sedition is the act of encouraging hatred or contempt of the monarch, government or constitution. Throughout history the crime of treason has attracted the harshest penalties. It involves a breach of allegiance to a person’s country in that it causes harm to the monarch (or head of state); or it might involve working with the enemies of the country to bring down the monarch or government.
       See  a Review of Sedition Laws on:
 R v. Sharkey (1949) 79 CLR 121
In 1949, while he was General Secretary of the Communist Party of Australia, Sharkey stated in a newspaper interview that the workers of Australia would welcome invasion by the Soviet Union. He was also quoted as saying that Australian workers should use force to ensure that fascists could not stop the communists from gaining power. It was claimed that Sharkey was attempting to incite the overthrow of the government; he was charged and found guilty of sedition. Sharkey appealed the decision to the High Court, claiming that he was only speaking hypothetically. The court ruled that the Crimes Act 1900 had been breached as Sharkey’s comments were seditious.
  1. Explain what must be demonstrated if a charge of larceny is to be proven.
  2. Distinguish between ‘breaking and entering’ and ‘robbery’.
  3. Briefly outline the main types of white-collar crime.
  4. What is sedition? How does it differ from treason?
Extension Question
  1. Are there any other areas covered under Offences against the State? If yes what are they and how do the differ from Treason and sedition?

1 comment:

  1. Questions

    Q1) Larceny is a crime under the common law series of criminal law. It involves the trespassory taking and carrying away (asportation, removal) of the tangible personal property of another with the intent to deprive him or her of its possession permanently. Larceny charges may vary, however, depending on the jurisdiction.

    Q2)Breaking and entering is entering a residence or other enclosed property through using force, however the slightest, without authorization. If there is intent to commit a crime, this is burglary. If there is no such intent, it is most likely to be breaking and entering or trespassing.

    Q3)White collar crimes is a general term given to various non-violent crimes associated with professionals or business people the main types are embezzlement, tax evasion and insider trading.

    Q4)Sedation is the promotion of hatred, discontent or contempt again a government or state leader of the state through slanderous use of language; in Australia, sedition includes offences of urging forces or violence against the government. Treason is an attempt to levy war against the state, assist the enemy or cause harm to or death of a state head. The difference between sedition and treason consists primarily in the objective of the accused Sedition does not consist of levying war against a government nor of adhering to its enemies, giving enemies aid, and giving enemies comfort, were as treason does.

    Q1)Subversion is another area covered under offences against the state. It refers to an attempt to overthrow the established order of a society, its structures of power, authority, exploitation, servitude, and hierarchy. Also some speeding can be considered offences against the state, as are many offenses observed by a state officer. Offenses against property owned by the state can also an example.


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