Perjury


In NSW, Perjury carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Perjury involves making a false statement on oath about something material in connection with any judicial proceedings.

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

The Offence of Perjury:

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).

Possible Defences for Perjury:

Possible defences to a Perjury charge could include arguing:

  1. that the statement you made was not done ‘ in connection with judicial proceedings;
  2. that your statement was not made under oath or an affirmation;
  3. that you believed the statement you made was true;
  4. even if you made a false statement, that it was not concerning a matter that was material to the proceedings.

You could also raise necessity or duress as an explanation for your conduct.

Which Court will Hear your Matter?

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.

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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