False or Misleading Information


In NSW, 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 These offences were ultimately withdrawn and replaced with a single charge of hindering Police.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.

Types of penalties:

Jail: This is the most serious penalty and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

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.

Fines: When deciding the amount of a fine the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Section 10A: A section 10A is a conviction, with no other penalty attached to it. 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.

WHERE TO NEXT?

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 criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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