What are the Penalties for Unlawful Entry onto Inclosed Premises?

By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

 

Choosing the right underwear might not usually seem like the most crucial decision in the morning. After all, whether you’re a briefs, boxers, bloomers, trunks or thong kind of person, as long as you’re comfortable, and the style and fabric are right for you, then it shouldn’t really matter.

That’s of course unless you’re planning on trespassing a property and attempting to run away from the police – and maybe getting caught with your pants down. In which case it might just be worthwhile giving your choice of undergarments a little bit of thought.

Pro Tip: Opt for a pair that provides the right amount of support but definitely enough freedom.

Call it something straight out of a movie, last week, a pair of underwear led to the arrest of an Adelaide man.

The man, who was allegedly clambering over a 1.8m high fence as an escape route from police, became caught on it by his underwear, and was left dangling upside down.

The young Seaton man had allegedly unlawfully entered a property and then attempted to flee police patrol.

Alas, he was betrayed by his own underwear and did not get very far.

*Cue collective face palm*

 

In Brief: How the Incident Unfolded

In the early hours of 27 February 2019, it is alleged that the 23-year-old man unlawfully entered a building site on Trimmer Parade in the suburb of Findon, west Adelaide.

It is reported that at around 3am, police were called to the area after a witness, suspecting something wasn’t right, yelled at the trespasser who then ran off. Meanwhile, reports were made of windows being smashed at the house under construction.

It was here that the embarrassing – and painful – attempt to flee went terribly wrong.

Originally, the man managed to run away and lose the police.

However, it wasn’t long until he found himself in the unforeseen situation.

As the man endeavoured to scale the fence, he became caught on it by his underwear, unable to free himself.

 

An Unusual Site: Man Arrested with His Pants Down

Police searched the area and soon discovered the suspect oddly upturned and stuck to the fence.

They charged the man with being unlawfully on premises, breach of bail and carrying and offensive weapon after a knife was found in his pocket.

Speaking to ABC Radio Adelaide, Senior Constable Matt Brown of South Australia said while police initially lost sight of him, it wasn’t long before he was found overturned on the fence with his underpants on display.

“So one day you’re going to get caught with your pants down … and today was that man’s day,” Senior Constable Brown said.

The man is due to appear in the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court at a later date.

Meanwhile, police said investigations into the property damage will carry on.

In NSW, it is an offence to enter into inclosed lands without permission.

What is Inclosed Lands?

Inclosed lands is defined in section 3 of the Inclosed Lands Protection Act (NSW), and includes either a ‘prescribed premises’ or land inclosed or surrounded by a fence, wall or other erection, or canal or any natural feature by which the boundaries may be recognised.

A ‘prescribed premises’ means land used or occupied in relation to a government school, registered non-government school, child care service, hospital or nursing home and any structure or building erected on that land.

What are the Penalties for Unlawfully Entering on Inclosed Lands?

Anyone guilty of unlawful entery on inclosed lands will face a maximum penalty of up to $550 fine and a conviction in court. This maximum penalty increases to $1,100 fine with a conviction in court if this offence is committed on ‘prescribed premises’ under section 4(1) Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 (NSW).

The above penalties only apply if the police issue you with a ‘Court Attendance Notice’ requiring you to appear in court, face a Magistrate who then has the discretion to impose a conviction and fine as a penalty on you if you are guilty.

Can I be Issued with an On-The-Spot Fine for Unlawfully Entering on Inclosed Lands?

A police officer may instead issue you with a penalty notice (on-the-spot fine) for this offence under section 10(1) Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 (NSW). When issues with a penalty notice, you then have one of two options.

The first option allows you to pay the penalty notice fine of $350, or $550 (if it was committed on prescribed premises). You will not be convicted if you pay the fine, in fact the matter will then be concluded without having to appear in court.

The second option allows you to opt to have the penalty notice infringement heard in the Local Court where you will then be required to appear in court, enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty.

If you then plead not guilty, the case will eventually be adjourned to another court date for a defended hearing when the Magistrate will then determine whether you are guilty or not guilty.

If you plead guilty in court (or if you’re found guilty after a defended hearing), after court-electing the penalty notice infringement, the court will normally proceed to sentence. The Magistrate will then consider an appropriate penalty to impose after hearing what you wish to say.

The penalty the Magistrate imposes will either result in a conviction and fine, or a non-conviction.

You will avoid a conviction even after pleading guilty in court if the Magistrate is convinced to impose a section 10 dismissal or non-conviction Conditional Release Order as a penalty.

In trying to convince to court to give you a non-conviction penalty it is a recommended to be prepared with good character reference letters for court.

Examples of unlawful entry onto inclosed lands may include:

  • Opening a gate and walking to the front door of a property (e.g. to leave a pamphlet) that has a sign stating, “No Trespassers”
  • Scaling someone’s balcony
  • Staying in a place such as a hospital after you have been instructed to leave

In short, a person can be charged with this offence if they walk, drive or make their way in some other way onto property that is enclosed by a fence, wall, canal, building or other structure that specifies the borders of the property.

Oh, and a final thought about that underwear dilemma – always choose a good pair, on account of you just never know.

Our criminal defence lawyers are available 24/7. We offer a free first consultation with available criminal lawyers in Penrith, Newcastle, Wollongong and other locations across NSW.

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