The finding of little Cleo Smith is a magnificent outcome giving relief to her parents and all concerned including the public across Australia and around the World.
Western Australia Police detectives found Cleo after 18 days since she had gone missing from a campsite at the blowholes just outside of Carnarvon.
Detectives and lawyers all agree that finding Cleo after such a long time goes against the odds. In stark contrast are the unsolved mysteries of William Tyrell, Madeline McCann and of course, Azaria Chamberlain.
Section 343 Criminal Code. Child stealing.
Any person who, with intent to deprive any parent, guardian, or another person who has the lawful care or charge of a child under the age of 16 years, of the possession of such child, or with intent to steal any article upon or about the person of any such
(1) Forcibly or fraudulently takes or entices away, or detains the child; or
(2) Receives or harbours the child, knowing it to have been so taken or enticed away or detained; is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 20 years.
Alternative offence for a charge of an offence under paragraph (1): an offence under paragraph (2).
It is a defence to a charge of any of the offences defined in this section to prove that the accused person claimed a right to the possession of the child, or, in the case of an illegitimate child, is its mother or claimed to be its father or parent under section 6A of the Artificial Conception Act 1985.
Up to 20 years imprisonment if convicted
Clearly, Terence Darrel Kelly is not Cleo’s father and therefore the defence under s343 is not available. Being a crime, his matter will go before the District Court and in the event of a conviction he can receive up to 20 years of imprisonment.