Section 16 of the Summary Offences act makes it an offence to unlawfully possess suspected stolen property. The key element of this provision is that the alleged perpetrator must reasonably suspect the property to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained. This clause is complementary to the more serious offences of stealing and receiving in the Criminal Code, however it may be used where the lawful owner of the property cannot be found and circumstances lead to the conclusion that the property has been stolen or unlawfully obtained.
The maximum penalty is 20 penalty units or 1 year imprisonment, with the value of a penalty unit being $154.80 as of 1 July 2023.
An example of unlawful possession of stolen property can be found in Castle v Farmer  QDC 99 where the appellant was found to possess a car that was reasonable suspected of being stolen or unlawfully obtained. The assumption that the appellant knew the car was stolen or unlawfully obtained was based on the altered interior and exterior of the car and the price which he bought it for, being significantly under market value.
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