Written by Martin Vazquez
September 15, 2016
The offence of consorting with a convicted offender has been brought to light through the much hyped media coverage of Andrew Fifita and Jarred Hayne.
Andrew Fifita has been heavily scrutinised for his support of the well known one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge. Fifita wrote on strapping on his left wrist during at least seven NRL games this season “F.K.L” which is interpreted as either “Free Kieran Loveridge” or “For Kieran Loveridge”. Further, it has been alleged that Fifita has visited and called Kieran Loveridge on numerous occasions. The offence of consorting has been further thrust into the limelight when Jarred Hayne was recorded driving around and associating with a known Hells Angel bikie enforcer.
The offence of consorting is not a new offence, however in 2012 it was enacted into the Crimes Act under Section 93X(1). Section 93X(1) makes it a criminal offence to ''habitually'' consort with convicted offenders. A person can be charged with consorting if they associate (either in person or by electronic or other forms of communication) with at least two convicted offenders, on two occasions. The offence carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment and/or a $15,000 fine. However, there must first be an "official warning" given by a police officer. If this warning is not heeded, then the police are able to lay the charge of consorting.
Does this law mean that you have to completely cut ties with any friends who have a conviction? Thankfully it does not. If you have a friend who as convicted of a drink driving charge do not despair, you can continue to be friends. Section 93W of the Crimes Act defined a convicted offender as: a person who has been convicted of an indictable offence. Indictable offences are serious criminal matters, which are either strictly indictable or listed in table 1 or 2 of schedule 1 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
It is reported that Andrew Fifita has received an official warning regarding consorting with Kieran Loveridge. Only time will tell well he heads this warning or whether he ends up having to defend the charge of consorting.