Mcphee Lawyers


03 August 2015

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should: Unlawful Actions and Family Law


Temptation is, well, tempting isn’t it? Especially where you are involved in a bitter dispute with an ex. who deserves everything they get. But remember, time passes and revenge is a dish best served cold. Also, keep yourself nice.

So if you are thinking of yielding to committing the following unlawful acts, here’s some suggestions for resisting the temptation but getting what you want anyway.

1.  Resist the temptation to open their mail.

Why? Because it is an offence to open or tamper with a mail article addressed to another person. You can go to gaol for 2 years for doing it.

But, you can make a note of the sender, date stamp and other information on the envelope and request a copy of the document once it is received by the addressee or you can give the letter to your lawyer and ask them to send it to the other side requesting the contents be disclosed if they are relevant (e.g. statement from Westpac, share registry letter and the like).

2.  Don’t hack their email or log in with a password you were given during the time you lived together and download information.

Why? Another 2 years (or more) imprisonment. Also, you are obliged to disclose any documents so obtained, so you effectively have to dob yourself in.

But, you can subpoena the information. Or if you have already downloaded documents or obtained information in this manner then you may be able to rely on the information in Court even though it is illegally obtained eg where it impacts on consideration of what is in the best interests of a child in a parenting matter. The law in this area is complex and evolving, ask a lawyer before you do something you may live to regret.

3.  Don’t use listening devices to overhear phone calls between your ex and other people.

Why? It’s illegal (yep, 2 years)

But it is legal to record telephone conversations between you and another person, regardless of whether they know you are recording the conversation. Whether such evidence will be given much weight in court, given you know you are being recorded and the other party doesn’t, is a moot point.

Also, you can record a conversation between 2 people on a video camera!

Lastly, remember that although your lawyer acts for you they are also officers of the court. If you bring them illegally obtained information, for example, emails you have obtained by hacking an account, your lawyer is under an obligation to either disclose those documents to the other party or cease to act for you.

Please contact our office for an appointment with one of our solicitors to discuss your family law matter.

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