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False or Misleading Information


In New South Wales, it is an offence to provide false and misleading information in certain circumstances. This is a serious offence that carries a maximum penalty of a fine of 200 penalty units and/or imprisonment for two (2) years.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for this charge.

The Offence Of Providing False Or Misleading Information

The offence of ‘false or misleading information’ is set out in section 307B of the Crimes Act 1900 which states:-

A person is guilty of an offence if:

  • The person gives information to another person, and
  • The person does so knowing that the information:
    • Is false or misleading, or
    • Omits any matter or thing without with the information is misleading, and
  • Any of the following subparagraphs apply:
    • The information is given to a public authority;
    • The information is given to a person who is exercising or performing any power, authority, duty or function under, or in connection with a law of the State, or
    • The information is given in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the State.

What Actions Might Constitute Providing False Or Misleading Information?

Examples of offences under this section are:-

  • R v Imo Sagoa [2014] NSWDC 44: the defendant was charged with two counts under this section in relation to allegedly false information he gave to Police in two separate interviews during the course of a murder investigation. These offences were ultimately withdrawn and replaced with a single charge of hindering Police.
  • In APV and APW v Department of Family and Community Services [2015] NSWCATAD 140, an offence under this section was alluded to, though not considered. The facts related to two individuals providing first and last names, but not their middle names, to Housing NSW and their later unwillingness to provide verification documents and photographic identification documents verifying their names for the purpose of preparing lease documents.
  • In Penza and DiMaria [2010] NSWSC 16 one of the defendants was charged with an offence under this section for entering Australia under a false name.

What Must The Police Prove?

To find you guilty of an offence of providing false or misleading information, the Police must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that you:-

  • Gave information to another person;
  • Knowing that that information was, either:
    • False or misleading; or
    • Omitted any matter or thing without which the statement is misleading; and
  • The information was given, either:
    • To a public authority;
    • 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 Providing False Or Misleading Information

It is a defence to the charge of providing false or misleading information 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
  • The information was not given to a public authority, a person exercising a function in connection with a law of the state or in compliance with a law of the State.

Subsection (4) states that the offence of providing false or misleading information to a public authority does not apply if the public authority did not take reasonable steps to inform you that it is an offence to provide that false or misleading information.

Similarly, subsection (5) states that the offence of providing false and misleading information to “a person who is exercising or performing any power, authority, duty or function, under or in connection with, a law of the State” does not apply if that person receiving the information did not take reasonable steps to inform you that it is an offence to provide that false or misleading information.

Which Court Will Hear My Matter?

This offence is a summary offence. That means that your matter will must be dealt with to finality in the Local Court.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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