Perjury - Penalties, Charges and Sentencing in NSW

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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

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...

Perjury (NSW)


In New South Wales, the offence of perjury carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Perjury involves making a false statement on oath about something material in connection with a judicial proceeding.

The legislation

The offence of Perjury is contained in section 327(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 which states: Any person who in or in connection with any judicial proceeding makes any false statement on oath concerning any matter which is material to the proceeding, knowing the statement to be false or not believing it to be true, is guilty of perjury and liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

What Actions Might Constitute Perjury?

  1. Lying in Court when giving evidence against your partner when they are being prosecuted for a domestic violence offence because you do not want them to be convicted or punished;
  2. Providing a false alibi for someone when giving evidence at a hearing;
  3. Filing a sworn affidavit in proceedings stating that you earn $1000 per week when you really earn $1500 per week.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict you of Perjury the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That you in, or in connection with, a judicial proceeding make a false statement;
  2. On oath or under affirmation;
  3. Concerning any matter that is relevant to the proceeding;
  4. Knowing the statement to be false or not believing it to be true.

A person cannot be prosecuted for perjury except by:

  1. the Director of Public Prosecutions, or
  2. at the discretion of the Attorney General or
  3. by any other person with leave of the judicial officer before whom the alleged perjury occurred, (or in their absence, with the leave of the Supreme Court).

Defences

A person charged with perjury could argue in their defence:

  1. that their statement was not made under oath or an affirmation;
  2. that they believed the statement they made was true;
  3. that the statement did not concern a matter that was material to the proceedings.

Jurisdiction

Perjury 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.

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