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NSW Police Fact Sheet on Consorting with criminals - Albanese should have a read

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The consorting law in New South Wales makes it a criminal offence for a person to continue to associate or communicate with at least two people who have previously been convicted of an indictable offence, after receiving an official police warning. The consorting law aims to prevent crime by disrupting organised criminal activity that establishes, uses or builds up criminal networks.

What is an official warning?

The consorting offence is found in Section 93X of the Crimes Act NSW and the legislation makes it clear that an official warning can be given orally or in writing. The warning informs the person being warned that the person with whom they are consorting is a convicted offender and that habitually consorting with convicted offenders is an offence.

An official warning ceases to have effect:

  1. If the warning is given to a person under the age of 18 years – 6 months after the warning is given or
  2. In any other case – 2 years after the warning is given.

A warning can be given before, during or after any consorting incident.

What does consort mean?

A person consorts with another person if that person communicates or associates with that person in any form, including by electronic or other form of communication. Some examples of consorting include meeting with, speaking to, emailing or contacting another person by social media.

Who are convicted offenders?

A convicted offender means:

a person who has been convicted of an indictable offence (disregarding any offence under section 93X). This includes interstate offences, that if occurred in NSW would be an indictable offence.

Can I be guilty of consorting even though I have never been convicted of an offence?

Yes. The offence is about associating with convicted offenders, not being a convicted offender.

Do the police have to tell me I am consorting?

No. Police have to warn you that consorting with convicted offenders is an offence. If you continue to associate with that person (the convicted offender) after you have been warned, then you may be committing an offence.

After a warning has been issued, New South Wales Police Force may provide information in writing to a person, relevant to a consorting warning to or about the person. You can also request NSW Police Force provide you the warning in writing.

Crimes Act 1900

Section 93X Consorting

  1. A person (other than a person under the age of 14 years) who:
    1. habitually consorts with convicted offenders, and
    2. consorts with those convicted offenders after having been given an official warning in relation to each of those convicted offenders, is guilty of an offence.
    Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years, or a fine of 150 penalty units, or both.