Are you under investigation for bribery or corrupt conduct?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

Are you under investigation for bribery or corrupt conduct?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

How this firm can help you achieve justice

How this firm can help you achieve justice

Andrew Anderson, Legal Director, is an award-winning lawyer who is independently recommended as being leading corporate crime, white-collar crime and regulatory investigations lawyers in Australia (Doyle’s Guide, 2020).
Having successfully represented litigants in the High Court of Australia, Queensland Court of Appeal, Royal Commissions and multiple other courts dealing with trials and other hearings, Andrew Anderson understands how to succeed in complex and difficult cases.
Andrew Anderson has worked as a Principal Crown Prosecutor in Queensland and barrister in private practice at 8 Petrie Terrace Chambers in Brisbane. His depth of courtroom advocacy experience ranges from simple cases right through to complex homicide trials and appeals.
Anderson Legal is a law firm that is dedicated to the best ideals of the legal profession. Seeking to exceed client expectations and fighting for justice is an everyday pursuit.

Learn more about corruption offences

1. Specific bribery and corruption offences

Both Queensland and Commonwealth laws target bribery and corruption amongst public servants, politicians and other public officials. Bribery and corruption offences can involve complex issues due to the extensive powers given to anti-corruption bodies and other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of this kind.

Abuse of office

Section 92 of the Criminal Code (Qld) creates the offence of abuse of office for any person who, being employed in the public service, does or directs to be done, in abuse of authority of the person’s office, any arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of another.

The offence of abuse of office targets employees of the public service in Queensland who abuse the authority of their office by arbitrarily doing any act that is prejudicial to the rights of another. The maximum penalty for the offence is 2 years imprisonment. If the act that constitutes the offence is done or directed to be done for purposes of gain, the person is liable to imprisonment for 3 years.

General dishonesty – obtaining a gain

The offence of general dishonesty (obtainting a gain) is made an offence under section 135.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. It is a serious dishonesty offence in Australia, carrying a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years.

The offence of general dishonesty – obtaining a gain under section 135.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth) requires the prosecution to prove that the person charged (a) did an act with the intention of dishonestly obtaining a gain from another person; and, (b) the other person was a Commonwealth entity. Charges of this kind can be pursued in relation to many dishonest acts or schemes, including, for example, frauds against the NDIS or Defence fraud.

Influencing a Commonwealth Public Official

The offence of influencing a Commonwealth public official is contained in Division 135 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, which relates to offences involving fraudulent conduct. The offence carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years.

For the offence of influencing a Commonwealth public official under section 135.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth), it is necessary for the prosecution to prove that the person charged (a) did an act with the intention of dishonestly influencing a public official in the exercise of the official’s duties as a public official; and (b) the public official was a Commonwealth public official; and, (c) the duties are the duties as a Commonwealth public official. 

Misconduct in relation to public office

In Queensland, misconduct in relation to public office carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment. It is an offence that requires proof of an intention to dishonestly gain a benefit for the officer or another person.

The key element of a charge of misconduct in relation to public office is the dishonest intent on the part of public officer. Unlike the offence of abuse of public office, which does not involve an element of dishonesty, this offence requires proof of dishonesty before a person may be found guilty. ThIs charge under section 92A of the Criminal Code (Qld) is a serious offence and has an equivalent maximum penalty to official corruption.

Offences relating to bribery

The Commonwealth Criminal Code contains a number of offences relating to bribery, such as giving a corrupting benefit or receiving a corrupting benefit. The laws target dealings with Commonwealth public officials.

Division 142 of the Criminal Code (Cth) sets out a range of offences that target corrupting benefits being given to, or that are received by, Commonwealth public officials. It also covers offences including the abuse of public office under section 142.2 of the Criminal Code (Cth). All of the charges under Division 142 focus on proof of dishonesty and carry a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

Official corruption

The offence of official corruption carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment under the Criminal Code (Qld), unless the offence is committed by or in relation to a Minister of the Crown, in which case the maximum penalty becomes 14 years.

Section 87 of the Criminal Code (Qld) creates the offence of official corruption in Queensland. In essence, the offence requires proof that a public servant or the holder of public office corruptly asks for, receives, obtains, agrees, or attempts to receive or obtain, any property or benefit of any kind for themselves. Alternatively, the offence may be proved against a person corruptly doing one of those things for a public servant or a person who holds public office.

Secret commissions

In Queensland, Chapter 42A of the Criminal Code (Qld) deals with ‘secret commissions’. The essence of the offences relates to agents corruptly receiving or soliciting personal gain in exchange for their principal’s affairs being affected in some way.

There are a number of separate offences of ‘secret commissions’, which target different ways an agent may corruptly affect or influence the affairs of their principal. This includes the receipt or solicitation of a secret commission by an agent, a gift or offer of a secret to an agent, or secret gifts received by parents, spouses, children, partners, etc. of agents. The maximum penalty for committing a secret commissions offence is 7 years imprisonment.

2. Common issues with bribery and corruption charges

If you are facing an allegation relating to bribery or a corruption offence, getting informed about the common issues that arise with such investigations or court proceedings might be crucial to avoiding injustice.

Below is a list of common issues that people confront when defending against bribery or corruption-related crimes in Queensland. While the information about each issue has been created to help people seeking to learn more about common issues relating to bribery and corruption charges, it cannot – and is not meant to – substitute legal consultation. To get tailored advice about an issue that may be raised in a specific case, contact Anderson Legal.

Commonwealth Integrity Commission

The proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC) will be a centralised agency with the power to investigate criminality and corruption in the public sector.It is proposed to have two integrity divisions: (1) law enforcement; and, (2) public sector.

The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) currently has the power to investigate corruption issues involving law enforcement officers and agencies among certain government departments and agencies. The Commonwealth Attorney-General has announced that the ACLEI will be subsumed by a newly-created Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC). It will have wide-ranging powers to investigate corrupt conduct.

Corporate liability

While individuals may be more commonly charged with corporate crimes than corporations, corporate entities still regularly face criminal prosecutions for contraventions of the law, including for issues relating to bribery and corruption.

Generally, criminal offences apply to corporations as they apply to individuals, given corporations are recognised as ‘juristic entities’ in Australia. An important reason for corporations to be criminal responsible is that, through actions and processes, fault may only be properly characterised as ‘corporate’ in reality and less amenable to isolating actions to some individuals and not others.

Crime & Corruption Commission (CCC)

The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) is an independent agency in Queensland that has investigative oversight of corruption issues. It has powers of surveillance, investigation and the use of coercive powers in its operations.

Under section 75 of the Crime and Corruption Act 2001, the CCC has the power to compel such information provided there is a reasonable suspicion such information, documents or things are known by, or in the possession of, the person or corporate entity served with the notice to discover. It may also issue a person with a notice to attend a compulsory hearing pursuant to section 82 of the Crime and Corruption Act 2001

Whistleblower protections

Quensland and Commonwealth whistleblower laws exist to protect people who seek to make protected disclosures relating to corruption or other misconduct amongst public servants and other officials associated with government.

On 1 July 2019, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019 (Cth) commenced, creating significant protections for whistleblowers with respect to a range of entities regulated under the Corporations Act 2001. There are also protections for whistleblowers under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (Cth) for Commonwealth issues and the Public Interest Disclosure Act (Qld) for issues arising in Queensland.

3. Possible consequences if charged or convicted

For anybody charged or convicted of bribery or corruption-based crimes, there can be consequences beyond what occurs within the criminal justice system. For many people, the potentially far-reaching effects from a charge or conviction for ‘dishonesty offences’ can come as a shock, which underscores why early advice from an experienced lawyer can be crucial to the outcomes that eventuate.

Adverse Publicity

For many people accused of a criminal offence, inaccurate or sensationalist reporting of the allegations is deeply troubling. Steps can be taken to mitigate the prejudice that can arise from adverse publicity to ensure a fair hearing.

While many journalists seek to adhere to high standards when reporting on criminal allegations, it can be important for anybody accused or convicted of a criminal offence to understand their legal options if their case is unfairly or improperly jeopardised by adverse publicity. Adverse media publicity can prejudice the fairness of a criminal trial, so it is important that people facing criminal allegations understand their rights when dealing with adverse publicity.

Character, Safety & Security Clearances

There are many occupations, jobs or roles that require character, safety and security clearances. A criminal history, and, in some instances, mere criminal allegations, can adversely affect assessments for character, safety and security clearances.

In Queensland, certain occupations are regulated by professional or trade bodies that can take disciplinary action following a criminal allegation or conviction arising. It is important to understand how a criminal law issue may affect other areas of life, such as employment prospects, recreational activities, insurance claims and other issues. This firm provides advice to its clients about the possible steps that can be taken to mitigate issues of this kind.

Character Tests – Citizenship / Visa Issues

The Australian Citizenship Act (Cth) and Migration Act (Cth) both contain character tests that can affect the eligibility for a person to become or remain a citizen or visa holder in Australia. Having a criminal history can be a decisive factor.

For citizens of another country who seek citizenship in Australia, a good character test can apply to the assessment of a citizenship application. Outstanding or finalised criminal charges (and even allegations falling short of criminal charges) can impact the assessment of the ‘good character’ test. The Migration Act (Cth) sets out the way a criminal history can lead to the refusal or cancellation of visas.

Employment Issues

Many people do not realise that employers can take action – such as suspension or dismissal – against an employee accused of a criminal offence. In some cases, such disciplinary action may be taken even if the conduct occurred outside of work.

Being accused of a criminal offence of itself is confronting enough for most people, however losing your career and livelihood even before the offence is proved can create additional burdens. Anderson Legal has the expertise to guide its clients through the employment law issues that can arise from criminal allegations, including what steps may be taken to ensure employment is not unnecessarily ended by an employer.

Recording of Convictions

In Queensland, the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a discretion to not record a conviction, despite the person being found guilty or having pleaded guilty to an offence. The recording of a conviction can have significant consequences.

Section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a general discretion to record or not record a conviction. Courts are required to take account of all relevant circumstances, such as the nature of the offence, the offender’s character and age, as well as the impact the recording of a conviction will have on them. For some sentences, such as those involving imprisonment or a breach of court orders, a court may be required to record a conviction.

Sentencing for dishonesty offences

In Queensland, the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) and sentencing law more generally contains important principles relating to dishonesty offences, including with respect to issues of compensation and restitution.

The Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) principles that imprisonment should be imposed as a last resort and that it is preferable if a sentence can appropriately keep a person in the community both apply generally to dishonesty offences. The variable nature of cases and motivations behind the offences means that all penalties must reflect the individual circumstances of each case. Understanding these issues is critical for anybody seeking a just outcome in their own case.

Do you need personalised legal advice or representation about bribery or corruption offences?

If you are facing allegations involving bribery or corruption offences, obtaining early and authoritative advice is essential to protecting your rights and legal interests. Andrew Anderson has demonstrated experience in successfully preparing and conducting trials, sentences and appeals for complex and serious offences before all courts in Queensland.

If you need to contact Anderson Legal, you can call the firm on (07) 3505 7070. Alternatively, you can complete our form and we will try to contact you.

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