Participating in a criminal group

What is the offence of Participating in a criminal group?

The offence of Participating in a criminal group is found at section 93T of the Crimes Act 1900.

Participating in a criminal group offences are often successfully defended where the evidence of the existence of a criminal group is circumstantial. Common examples of where a person’s prospects of successfully defending the charge are increased include where the prosecution is reliant on the testimony of one witness and phone taps or text messages are ambiguous and open to interpretation.

If you are charged with the offence of Participating in a criminal group, your options will normally be to plead guilty or not guilty.

Pleading not guilty

You will be found not guilty of the offence of Participating in a criminal group if the police cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. You participate in a criminal group by directing any of the activities of the group; and
  2. You knew or ought to reasonably have known that you participated in a criminal group; and
  3. You knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that your participation in that group contributed to the occurrence of any criminal activity.

Or

  1. You participate in a criminal group by directing any of the activities of the group; and
  2. You know that it is a criminal group; and
  3. You know, or is reckless as to whether, that participation contributes to the occurrence of any criminal activity.

Or

  1. You assault another person, or destroy or damage property, or threatens to destroy or damage property; and
  2. Intend by that action to participate in any criminal activity of a criminal group.

Or

  1. You participate in a criminal group whose activities are organised and on-going by directing any of the activities of the group; and
  2. You know that it is a criminal group; and
  3. You know or are reckless as to whether, that participation contributes to the occurrence of any criminal activity.

Criminal group means a group of 3 or more people who have as their objective or one of their objectives:

  • Obtaining material benefits from conduct that constitutes a serious indictable offence (offence carrying a maximum penalty of more than 5 years), or
  • Obtaining material benefits from conduct engaged in outside New South Wales (including outside Australia) that, if it occurred in New South Wales, would constitute a serious indictable offence, or
  • Committing serious violence offences, or
  • Engaging in conduct outside New South Wales (including outside Australia) that, if it occurred in New South Wales, would constitute a serious violence offence.

If the police are able to prove the above elements beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:

Contact our offices at Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern to organise a time for one of our criminal lawyers to advise you of your prospects of successfully defending the charge of Participating in a criminal group.

Pleading guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence (and the police are able to prove so), it is best to plead guilty as you will normally receive a discount on sentence and it will demonstrate remorse and contrition. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to less serious facts or even a less serious charge.

Participating in a criminal group is a serious criminal offence. The offences were introduced in recognition of the fact that crimes committed by gangs are a far greater threat to the safety and wellbeing of the community than most crimes committed by individuals acting alone.

Participating in a criminal group carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court. The maximum penalty in the District Court is between 5 and 15 years imprisonment depending on which offence under section 93T is alleged. However, these penalties are typically reserved for the worst offenders. Participating in a criminal group is a serious offence and if you are charged with it you should contact our office immediately.

Penalties that a court can impose in NSW are:

Why choose AC Law Group?

Our solicitors are experts at obtaining the best outcome possible for participating in a criminal group offences. For these offences, a good lawyer can be the difference between a conviction and no criminal record and freedom or gaol. To read more about AC Law Group, click here.

To discuss your participating in a criminal group charge, call AC Law Group at our Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern offices or make a website inquiry today.

Contact us to book a FREE first consultation

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