Penalties for Indecently Interfering with or Misconduct with a Corpse in NSW


It is reported that 52-year-old forensic scientist from the city of Manaus, Brazil, Wanderley dos Santos Silva, has been dismissed from his position over allegedly having sexual intercourse with a corpse in the autopsy room.

The incident came to light when a police officer from the Department of Forensic Police allegedly entered the autopsy room in order to ascertain some details about a female corpse.

Upon entering the autopsy room, the police officer allegedly walked in on the forensic scientist having sex with a dead female body.

It’s reported that when the officer walked in Silva “doing it” with the dead body, Silva fled the scene.

This resulted in the alleged incident being reported to the Department of Forensic Police before Silva was dismissed from his position.

Reportedly, Silva is suspected of arriving in the autopsy room intoxicated after celebrating the win of his football team, Flamengo.

Penalties for Indecently Interfering or Misconduct with a Corpse in NSW

It’s a criminal offence, carrying heavy penalties for misconduct or indecently interfering with a dead body (corpse) in NSW.

Section 81C Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) prescribes a 2-years maximum imprisonment sentence to anyone who indecently interferes with a dead human body or improperly interferes with, or offers any indignity to, a dead human body or human remains, regardless of whether it is buried or not.

What is indecent under the law here? An indecent act in NSW law is anything that right-minded people will consider as being against our community standards of decency.

It is behaviour that is considered to offend the current accepted standards of decency in today’s day of age.

Conduct will be generally indecent if it has a ‘sexual connotation’. Such sexual connotation can be inherent in the area of body touched, part of body used to do the touching, and conduct taking place.

To be guilty of a charge of indecently interfering with a corpse in NSW, the police will be required to prove beyond reasonable doubt, that:

  1. The accused person voluntarily engaged in conduct considered indecent; and
  2. Such conduct was interfering with a dead human body.

The conduct of indecent assault against a living human being is also a crime carrying heavier penalties in NSW.

Penalties for Indecent Assault and Sexual Touching in NSW

Indecent assault has been replaced by the new offence of sexual touching as of December 2018.

Indecent assault is when a person commits an assault on a person without consent where the alleged offender was aware that there was no consent in circumstances that the assault was an act of indecency.

Sexual touching is now the relevant offence to replace indecent assault under section 61KC Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

It carries a maximum penalty of up to 5-years jail, and occurs when:

  1. The alleged offender intentionally sexually touches another person; and
  2. The alleged offender was aware there was no consent to do this; and
  3. The other person did not consent to it.

In order to be guilty of sexual touching, the prosecution is required to prove each of the above elements beyond reasonable doubt in court.

If the prosecution fail to prove any of the above elements, the charge of sexual touching will be dismissed.

Want to know more on this? To arrange a free appointment today, contact our friendly team of criminal defence lawyers in Sydney.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.


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