This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice. The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article. It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem.
What is Bestiality?
Bestiality means having sexual intercourse with an animal or animals. It is an offence under the Queensland Criminal Code. Examples can include accepting money to perform sexual acts on animals or allowing animals to perform sexual acts on you in order to make videos or simply committing the act for entertainment. Both men and women can commit and be charged with this offence. There does not need to be an act of penetration for a person to be charged with this offence. It is also considered an act of animal cruelty.
The Law Surrounding Beastiality
Section 211 of the Criminal Code (Qld) 1899 states:
Any person who has carnal knowledge with or of an animal is guilty of a crime and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.
Elements of the Offence
It is the duty of the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant has committed the offence. Every charge has a number of elements that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
For the charge of Bestiality the Prosecution must prove:
- Defendant – The Prosecutor has to prove the identification of the offender;
- Committed an act of bestiality (did carnally know an animal)
Maximum Penalty for Beastiality
The maximum penalty for Bestiality is seven years imprisonment.
In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Bestiality, then the court could impose one of the following penalties:
- Jail (suspended, parole or actual time);
- Intensive Corrections Order;
- Community Service Order;
The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant.
Possible Defences of Bestiality
There are a number of defences available to charges at law. Not every defence is available to every charge. You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge. Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are:
- Mistake of Fact;
- Public Safety;
- Self Defence or defence of another person;
Which Court will your matter be heard in?
The charge of Bestiality will initially be heard in the Magistrates Court in Queensland. The prosecution will need to obtain a full brief of evidence. The charge is too serious and cannot be heard and determined by a Magistrate. A committal hearing will have to be conducted and then the matter must proceed to the Supreme Court. If you enter a plea of guilty then the charge will be determined by a Judge. If you enter a plea of Not Guilty then the trial will be before a Judge and Jury. If you are found guilty then you will be sentenced by the Judge.
What should I do if the police want to speak to me about a Bestiality allegation or if I am charged with Bestiality?
You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer.
Call a Criminal Lawyer
If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over the phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court. Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.