Use false document

Section 254 – This offence, in short, is committed by a person who uses a forged document (false document) to obtain a financial advantage or disadvantage.

The offence of use false document came into force on 22 February 2010 and is an effective reiteration of the repealed use false instrument offence (section 300(2)). However, the maximum penalty has been increased significantly to 10 years imprisonment.

What the police must prove

  • The accused used a false document;
  • Knowing the document to be false;
  • With the intention of inducing a person to accept it as genuine; and;
  • Because it is accepted as genuine ;
  • Either

(a) to obtain property belonging to another
(b) to obtain any financial advantage or cause any financial disadvantage
(c) to influence the exercise of a public duty.

Relevant definitions

“Obtain” a financial advantage includes:

  • obtain a financial advantage for oneself or for another person, and
  • induce a third person to do something that results in oneself or another person obtaining a financial advantage, and
  • keep a financial advantage that one has,

whether the financial advantage is permanent or temporary.

“Cause” a financial disadvantage means:

  • cause a financial disadvantage to another person, or
  • induce a third person to do something that results in another person suffering a financial disadvantage, whether the financial disadvantage is permanent or temporary.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in corporate crime and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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