What is the penalty for goods in custody?

What is the Penalty for Goods in Custody?


What is goods in custody?


In order to be convicted goods in custody, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:


1. You:

a) Had any thing in your custody; or
b) You had any thing in the custody of another person; or
c) You had any thing in or on premises, whether belonging to or occupied by yourself or not, or whether that thing is there for your use or the use of  another; or
d) You give custody of any thing to a person who is not lawfully entitled to possession of the thing.


2. That thing may be reasonably suspected of being stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.


If any of the above elements cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.


What does custody mean?

Custody is different from possession. Case law defines ‘custody’ as ‘immediate de facto control.’ For example, police receive a report of a stolen laptop from a retail store at 1.30pm. The description of the offender is 20 year old male on a skateboard wearing a grey hoodie and that he was seen putting the laptop in his backpack. The backpack with the laptop in it is later found in a council rubbish bin at 3pm. The alleged offender is arrested at the train station at 5.30pm. He can not be charged with the offence of ‘goods in custody’ because the ‘goods’ were clearly not in his ‘control’ of ‘custody.’


What does ‘may be reasonably suspected of being stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained’ mean?”

The suspicion attaches to the ‘goods’ and not the person. It is the Magistrate who decides if there is suspicion, and not the arresting officer. Further, if the defendant can prove that the goods were not stolen, i.e. he/she can provide receipts, then the element of ‘suspected of being stolen or unlawfully obtained’ also can’t be satisfied.


What is the penalty for goods in custody?

The offence of Goods in custody carries a maximum penalty of $550.00 and/or 6 months imprisonment in the Local Court. If the ‘thing’ is a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part, the offence carries a maximum fine of $1100 or 1 year gaol.

What is the penalty for goods in custody when it was your first offence?

If it was your first offence, it would be definitely possible for your penalty for goods in custody to be a Section 10 no conviction.

The statistics show that 49% of first offenders who plead guilty receive a Section 10 as a penalty for goods in custody.

For more information, and to see our case studies where we have represented other people charged with goods in custody, go to:


Call LY Lawyers on 1300 595 299 to speak to one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers on how to beat a charge of goods in custody.