Should I Nominate Another Person As The Driver? (WA)
Speeding or running a red light in a location where there is a camera can result in an infringement notice in WA. When a driver receives such a notice and accepts responsibility for the offence, they will have to pay a fine as well as receiving demerit points against their licence. If a driver does not accept responsibility for the offence, they may nominate another person as having been the driver at the time the offence occurred. This article deals with the consequences of providing false information when nominating another person as the driver in order to escape responsibility for an offence.
When a person receives a speed camera or a red light camera notice and is concerned about adding more demerit points to their driver’s licence, they may be tempted to nominate another person as the driver to avoid this. It is important to be aware that doing this is an offence under the Road Traffic Act. Depending on the circumstances, you could also be charged with more serious criminal offences such as making a false statement on oath or attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Giving false information when nominating another person as the driver
Section 36 of the Road Traffic (Administration) Act 2008 states “A person must not give information that the person knows to be false or misleading in a material particular to a person performing a function under a road law.” The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $2,500.
Signing a false stat dec is making a false statement on oath
Section 169(2) of the Criminal Code provides that any person who knowingly makes a statement that is false in a material particular in a statutory declaration is guilty of a crime and is liable to imprisonment for five years. The maximum penalty when dealt with in the Magistrates Court is imprisonment for two years and / or a fine of $24,000.
Perverting the course of justice
Section 143 of the Criminal Code states “Any person who attempts to obstruct, prevent, pervert, or defeat the course of justice is guilty of a crime.” The maximum penalty for attempting to pervert the course of justice is 7 years imprisonment.
Attempting to pervert the course of justice is an offence that must be dealt with in the District Court of Western Australia. The usual outcome if a person is convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice is a term of immediate imprisonment.
If a person were charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to falsely nominating another person as the driver of their vehicle, the prosecution would have to prove that the accused’s conduct in signing the statutory declaration had the tendency to pervert the course of justice. This requires only that the conduct interferes adversely with the proper administration of justice. The prosecution would also have to prove that the accused had an intention to do so.
The expression “the course of justice” is concerned with court proceedings or the exercise of jurisdiction of a court or competent judicial authority. A police investigation into a possible offence is not part of the course of justice.
If a person’s conduct in completing a statutory declaration nominating another person as the driver of a vehicle was done with the intention only of avoiding demerit points and a possible demerit point suspension of a licence, this would not amount to an attempt to pervert the course of justice. The conduct would, however, still amount to the offence of knowingly making a false statement in a statutory declaration.
If the accused’s conduct in completing the false statutory declaration was done to avoid being charged and subsequently found guilty of another offence, such as driving without authority to do so, then they could be charged and found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
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