Custody of false instruments

The maximum penalty for this offence is ten years’ imprisonment.

What court is likely to hear the matter

This matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

What the police must prove

In order for the police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The accused had in his or her custody or control.
  • An instrument which was false.
  • The accused knew it to be false.
  • It was with the intention that another person would:(a) to accept the instrument as genuine, and b) because of that acceptance, to do or not do some act to that other person’s, or to another person’s, prejudice.

It will be necessary for the police to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  • Duress
  • Necessity
  • Intoxication

The law

Section 302 of the Crimes Act states:

A person who has in his or her custody, or under his or her control, an instrument which is false, and which he or she knows to be false, with the intention that the person or another person will use it to induce another person:

  • to accept the instrument as genuine, and
  • because of that acceptance, to do or not do some act to that other person/s, or to another person/s’ prejudice, is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.


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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