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Framing Commonwealth offences - including guidelines on when criminal charges should be preferred

https://www.ag.gov.au/Publications/Pages/GuidetoFramingCommonwealthOffencesInfringementNoticesandEnforcementPowers.aspx

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The guide can be downloaded through the links below:

 

Principle in relation to criminal charges

A criminal offence is the ultimate sanction for breaching the law and there can be far-reaching consequences for those convicted of criminal offences. 

A criminal offence is the benchmark against which other sanctions are measured.

The main purposes of criminal law are traditionally considered to be deterrence and punishment. 

Central to the concept of criminality are the notion of individual culpability and the criminal intention for one’s actions.

A key characteristic of a crime, as opposed to other forms of prohibited behaviour, is the repugnance attached to the act, which invokes social censure and shame

Certain conduct should be almost invariably classified as criminal due to the degree of malfeasance or the nature of the wrongdoing involved. 

Examples include 

conduct that results in physical or psychological harm to other people (murder, rape, terrorist acts) or

conduct involving dishonest or fraudulent conduct (false and misleading statements, bribery, forgery)

 

In addition, criminal offences should be used where the relevant conduct involves, or has the potential to cause, considerable harm to society or individuals…….

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