While the vast majority of criminal offences that are dealt with through the Queensland courts concern offence under Queensland laws such as the Criminal Code (Qld), there is a wide range of Commonwealth offences which may be laid by the prosecuting authorities. Common examples of Commonwealth offences include:
- Using a telecommunication device (eg phone/internet) to harass;
- Using the internet to access or distribute child pornography;
- Importation into Australia of prohibited substances or items (drugs/guns etc);
- Social Security Fraud;
- Taxation Offences (failing to lodge tax returns etc);
- Computer hacking;
- Insider trading / providing financial advice or services without a licence.
Because a completely different legal framework exists for Commonwealth matters, a different set of principles apply to, for example, the sentencing process.
One of the most obvious examples of this difference can be seen in relation to whether a criminal conviction should be recorded or not. Under the Queensland law, there is a wide discretion open to the Court in deciding whether or not a conviction should be recorded. Under the Commonwealth legislation however, that discretion is very narrow. As such, if a person charged with a Commonwealth criminal offence wants to avoid a conviction being recorded, careful preparation – often much more than what would be required under the Queensland legislation - must be carried out.