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Falsification of Documents

Falsifying a document means to make a document appear to be genuine. This may occur when a document is altered to appear as if it was authorised, signed or created by someone who did not actually authorise, sign or create it. There are several categories of offences governed under section 83A of the Crimes Act 1958 in relation to the falsification of documents.

Penalties the Court can impose for this charge:

The Offence of Possession of Falsification of Documents:

Falsification of document offences covers the creation, production of copies, or use of a copied or original falsified document. You can also be charged with this offence if you had in your possession a falsified document and had intended to use the falsified document (whether you actually did so or not).

Each offence requires that the Accused intended to convince someone that the falsified document was genuine and that the convinced person would do, or not do, something because they accepted the document as genuine. Pursuant to section 83A, each of the following is an offence punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment:

  • Make a False Document (s 83A(1))
  • Use a False Document (s 83A(2))
  • Make a Copy of a False Document (s 83A(3))
  • Use a Copy of a False Document (s 83A(4))
  • Have a False Document in Their Custody or Control (s 83A(5))

What Actions Might Constitute Falsification of Documents?

  • The Accused altered the date of a medical certificate to make a Worker’s Compensation claim;
  • The Accused relied on an altered drivers’ licence as proof of their age to enter an establishment;
  • The Accused had in his/her possession a passport which indicated their photograph but a different name.

What the Police Must Prove:

The Accused:

  • Knowingly made or used a falsified document or a copy of a falsified document;
  • Intended to use the document to induce another to believe the document was correct; and
  • To that person’s, or another’s prejudice.

Possible Defences for the Falsification of Documents:

  • The Accused was not the person who made the alterations to the document;
  • The Accused had no knowledge the document was false or altered;
  • The Accused had no intention to use or produce the document.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

Falsification offences are indictable but may be dealt with summarily. This means that they can be heard in the Magistrates’ Court depending on the circumstances of the alleged offending.

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