False or Misleading Applications
In New South Wales, making a false or misleading application, is a serious offence that carries a maximum penalty of a fine of 200 penalty units and/or imprisonment for two (2) years.
The Offence Of Making A False Or Misleading Application
The offence of ‘making false document’ is set out in section 307A of the Crimes Act 1900 which states:
A person is guilty of an offence if:
- The person makes a statement (whether orally, in a document or in any other way), and
- The person does so knowing that, or reckless as to whether, the statement:
- Is false or misleading, or
- Omits any matter or thing without which the statement is misleading, and
- The statement is made in connection with an application for an authority or benefit, and
- Any of the following subparagraphs apply:-
- The statement is made to a public authority,
- The statement is made to a person who is exercising or performing any power, authority, duty or function under, or in connection with, a law of the statement.
- The statement is made in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the State.
What Actions Might Constitute Making A False Or Misleading Application?
- Section 307A defines an ‘application’ with a non-exhaustive list. Applications include: “any claim, request or other form of application and also includes, in the case of an application for an authority, any application for the issue, grant, amendment, transfer, renewal, restoration or replacement of the authority and any other application in connection with the authority.”
- Where section 307A(c) refers to a ‘benefit’, that benefit includes any advantage, and is not limited to property, this means that Police are able to prove that you have committed an offence under this section, even if you have not received money or something material in return.
- You can be found guilty of an offence under this section if you were reckless as to whether your statement was false or misleading. That means that Police do not have to prove that you knew the information was false, only that there was a possibility you turned your mind to the fact that the information could have been false and proceeded anyway.
- Examples of offences under this section include: falsely misrepresenting your experience or qualifications in an application for a contractor’s licence, taxi authority or driving instructor’s authority.
What Must The Police Prove?
To find you guilty of an offence of making a false or misleading application, the Police must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that you:-
- Made a statement;
- You did so knowing that, or were reckless as to whether the statement:
- Was false or misleading; or
- Omitted any matter or thing without which the statement is misleading, and
- That statement was made in connection with an application for an authority or benefit; and
- The statement was made:
- To a public authority; or
- To a person who was exercising or performing any power, authority, duty or function under, or in connection with, a law of the State; or
- In compliance or purported compliance with a law of the State.
Possible Defences To Making A False Or Misleading Application
It is a defence to the charge of making a false or misleading application if you can show:-
- The statement was not false or misleading;
- You did not have knowledge that the statement was false and could not have known; or
- No advantage or benefit was gained.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
This offence is a summary offence. That means that your matter will must be dealt with to finality in the Local Court.
Home Detention: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 as a standalone order but may be imposed as a condition of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring. Read more.
Intensive Corrections Order (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.
Suspended Sentence: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018. This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.
Community Service Order (CSO): As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.
Good Behaviour Bond: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.
Community Corrections Orders (CCO): A CCO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the Community Corrections Orders (CCO). Additional conditions may be imposed at the discretion of the court, both at the time of sentence and subsequently upon application by a community corrections officer, juvenile justice officer or the offender. Read more.
Conditional Release Order (CRO): A CRO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the CRO. Read more.
Section 10 avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.