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False Accusations (NSW)

In New South Wales, making a False Accusation carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment. Prosecution under this section is usually the result of a false accusation being made that leads to a significant police investigation (or a diversion of a police investigation to another person).

The legislation

The offence of False Accusations is contained in section 314 of the Crimes Act 1900 which states that a person who makes an accusation intending a person to be subjected to an investigation for an offence, knowing that the other is innocent of the offence, is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

What Actions Might Constitute a False Accusation?

A person may be charged with this offence because:

  • They made false allegations to police of domestic violence by their ex-partner;
  • They made false stalking or harassment claims made against a neighbours in an attempt to have the neighbour evicted from their residence;
  • They made a false statement to the police about who was the perpetrator of an assault in order to protect the real perpetrator;
  • They made sexual assault allegations in order to avoid embarrassment, gain attention, or get revenge on a previous partner.

What must be proven

To convict you of making a false accusation, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you made an accusation; and
  • You intended the victim to be the subject of an investigation for an offence; and
  • You knew that the victim was innocent of that offence.

Possible defences

You could defend a false accusation charge by arguing:

  • that you had no intention of making someone the subject of a police investigation;
  • that you believed the accusation you made was true;
  • that you didn’t make the accusation;


Making a False Accusation is a Table 1 offence and is to be dealt with by the Local Court, unless you or the prosecution elect for the matter to be heard in the District Court on indictment. The summary disposal of these offences in the Local Court carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.

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

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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