The Law on Bestiality in NSW


It is reported that 28-year-old Nicholase Hill from the United States had sex with his dog and shared the videos on Facebook.

He was charged and made admissions to animal cruelty on 31 October.

Following his admissions in court, he was sentenced with 60-hours of community service with a $250 fine with a condition to keep away from dogs.

He was advised that he will only avoid an imprisonment penalty if he agrees to undertake mental health counselling.


The Offending Behaviour

It is reported that Hill had sexual intercourse with his pet dog many times over a period of time.

This was discovered only after he had sent the videos of this to a woman known to him on Facebook.

He had asked the woman on Facebook if she “wanted to get involved” with him and the dog for a threesome.

When the woman declined this request, she got in touch with authorities who then also viewed the videos of Hill having sex with his dog.

Hill was subsequently arrested and charged for animal cruelty.

It was only after negotiations with the prosecution that he changed his plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’.

The whereabouts of Hill’s pet dog is not known.

The Law on Bestiality in NSW

Bestiality is known under the law as the sexual penetration of animal(s).

Courts have recognised that an offender here requires help, rather than the dog (R v Higson (1984)).

Section 79 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) prohibit a person from committing an act of bestiality with an animal, which carries a maximum penalty of 14-years-imprisonment.

There is a maximum penalty of 5-years imprisonment prescribed for anyone who attempts to commit an act of bestiality with any animal according to section 80 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Generally, a full-time custodial sentence is not imposed on an offender unless there are unusual aggravating features of the case.

Aggravating features can include factors such as length and/or period of offending conduct, use of violence and any injuries caused.

Click here for more information of bestiality charges in NSW.

While full-time imprisonment is a sentencing penalty, there are other sentencing penalties available to a sentencing court for an offender, including:

  1. Non-conviction section 10(1)(a), which means there will be no criminal conviction recorded even after a plea of guilty.
  2. Non-conviction Conditional Release Order (CRO), which also means no criminal conviction recorded even after pleading guilty, but with the imposition of certain conditions such as good behaviour.
  3. CRO with conviction and conditions.
  4. Community Corrections Order with conviction and conditions.
  5. Intensive Corrections Order with conviction and conditions.
  6. Full-Time Custody/imprisonment with conviction.

How does the sentencing court determine which penalty to impose on an offender? Here the court considers generally the objective and subjective features of the case.

Objective features of the case include things such as, period of time the offence occurred for, whether it was committed in public, and whether there was any violence used.

Subjective features of the case include things such as, the offender’s age, mental health, any prior offences, prospects of rehabilitation, likelihood of re-offending, whether the offender has expressed remorse and insight and acknowledged wrongdoing.

The court looks at the police set of facts, and any further material the offender wishes to produce for the court to take into account in an effort to reduce the sentence.

People being sentenced usually gather good character letters for the Court on sentence. It is crucial to ensure the character reference letters for court are drafted correctly outlining the main points.

Here is a guide on how to write a good character letter for court for criminal offences.

Want more information? Contact our team of experienced criminal lawyers from Sydney or Paramatta today.

Our 24hr hotline is (02) 8606 2218.

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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