Are you facing a cybercrime or privacy breach allegation?

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

Are you facing a cybercrime or privacy breach allegation?

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 among the leading criminal defence lawyers in Queensland.
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 cybercrimes & privacy

1. Specific cybercrimes and privacy offences

In Queensland, cybercrimes and privacy offences are being treated increasingly seriously by both law enforcement agencies and the community more broadly. In recent times, laws against cybercrime and privacy-related offences have been created and strengthened to reflect the unique issues brought about by technology.

Computer hacking and misuse (Queensland)

Computer hacking and misuse is an offence under section 408E of the Criminal Code (Qld) in Queensland. Penalties range from between 2 years to 10 years imprisonment, depending on the circumstances of the offence.

The essence of the charge is that it is an offence for a person to use a restricted computer without the consent of the computer’s controller. If the person causes or intends to cause detriment or damage, or gains or intends to gain a benefit, the maximum penalty is increased to 5 years imprisonment. If the detriment, damage or benefit is valued at $5,000 or more, or an indictable offence is intended, the maximum penalty becomes 10 years imprisonment.

Distributing intimate images

Section 223 of the Criminal Code (Qld) makes it an offence to distribute intimate images without consent. Consent means consent freely and voluntarily given by a person with the cognitive capacity to consent. The law states that a child under the age of 16 years is incapable of giving consent for this offence. It is immaterial whether the person who distributes the intimate images intends to cause, or actually causes, the other person distress.

Distributing prohibited visual recordings

Section 227B of the Criminal Code (Qld) makes distributing a prohibited visual recording without consent an offence. It is punishable by a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment. The term ‘prohibited visual recording’ is defined in section 207A of the Criminal Code (Qld) and includes visual recordings of a person in a private place or engaging in a private act, made in circumstances where a reasonable adult would expect to be afforded privacy.

Observations or recordings in breach of privacy

Section 227A of the Criminal Code (Qld) makes observations or recordings in breach of privacy an offence, carrying a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment. The offence targets breaches of privacy relating to private places or a person or people engaging in private acts. It also targets observations or visual recordings of another person’s genital or anal region, in circumstances where a reasonable adult would expect to be afforded privacy.

Prohibited use of listening devices

The Invasion of Privacy Act (Qld) makes it an offence if a person uses a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a private conversation. There are a number of exceptions to this offence.

Section 43 of the Invasion of Privacy Act (Qld) states that if a person is guilty of prohibited use of listening devices, they are liable to conviction on indictment to a maximum penalty of 40 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years. There are a number of exceptions to the offence, such as for law enforcement and government agencies, as well as where the person using the listening device is a party to the private conversation.

Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence (involving private sexual material)

In Australia, the Commonwealth Criminal Code contains an offence relating to using a carriage service, such as the internet, to menace, harass or cause offence. It is an aggravated offence if it involves private sexual material.

Section 474.17 of the Criminal Code (Cth) makes it an offence to use a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence. The maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment. If the offence is committed and it is proved that the person charged transmitted, made available, published, distributed, advertised or promoted private sexual material, the maximum penalty becomes 5 years imprisonment.

2. Common issues with cybercrime & privacy offences

If you are facing an allegation relating to cybercrime or a privacy offence, getting informed about the common issues that arise with such offences or charges might be crucial to avoiding injustice.

Below is a list of common issues that people confront when dealing with cybercrime or privacy offence allegations in Queensland. While the information about each issue has been created to help people seeking to learn more about common issues relating to technology and privacy orientated 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.

Child exploitation material offences

Child exploitation material offences, whilst often committed using technology, are generally categorised as sexual offences due to the inherent harm such offences cause to children. Sentencing practices in Australia also follow this categorisation.

The Criminal Code (Qld) contains a number of charges relating to child exploitation material offences, including possessing child exploitation material charges and distributing child exploitation material charges. The Commonwealth Criminal Code also contains a range of offences relating to the use of the internet (carriage service) to access or distribute child exploitation material. Offences of this kind general result in sentences of imprisonment.

Computer forensics investigations

Many cybercrimes involve expert evidence from computer forensics investigators who have the task of identifying, preserving, recovering, analysing, presenting and explaining the relevance of digital information and data to an offence.

While law enforcement agencies employ computer forensics investigators to assist or undertake investigations into suspected criminal offences, such experts may also be engaged by defendants or criminal defence lawyers in cases where the evidence may be critical to the outcome and could be contested. The importance of proper scrutiny of a computer forensics investigation can be critical to avoiding injustice.

Cyberbullying offences

Cyberbullying generally refers to intentional and sometimes repeated hurtful or offensive conduct that is carried out using technology. There are a number of laws available to law enforcement agencies to take action aginst cyberbullying.

There is a range of technology-specific offences in relation to cyberbullying, such as distributing intimate images or using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, which can be charged in addition to more generic offences such as stalking or threats. In addition, people accused of cyberbullying may be subject to disciplinary processes in educational and employment contexts.

Non-consensual sharing of intimate images

While there are criminal offences that may be charged against a person for the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, the eSafety Commissioner also has powers to take action in relation to issues of this kind. A person may lodge a complaint or objection notice about intimate images, which empowers the eSafety Commissioner to take action under the Enhancing Online Safety Act (Cth)..

While a person who is a party to a private conversation may secretly or covertly record it, there is otherwise few exceptions in Queensland that allows a person to use a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a private conversation.

Even if a person is permitted to secretly record a private conversation in Queensland, a person is guilty of an offence if they communicate or publish to any other person a private conversation, or a report of, or of the substance, meaning or purport of, a private conversation, that has come to his or her knowledge as a result, direct or indirect, of the use of a listening device used in contravention of section 43 of the Invasion of Privacy Act (Qld).

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3. Possible consequences if charged or convicted

For anybody charged or convicted of cybercrime or a privacy offence, 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 such 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.

Do you need personalised legal advice or representation about cybercrime or a privacy offence?

If you are facing allegations involving cybercrimes or privacy 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 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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