Section 321 Crimes Act | Corruption of Witnesses or Jurors


Print

Witnesses and jurors play an essential role in court proceedings in helping to ascertain the evidence and facts of a case and determining the defendant’s guilt.

Courts therefore take attempts to corrupt or influence witnesses and jurors very seriously.

Section 321 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) deals with the offence of “corruption of witnesses and jurors.”

It says that you can be charged with an offence under this section if you:

  • Offer, or attempt to offer a benefit to a witness in order to encourage them to give false evidence or withhold true evidence, or not attend as a witness or not produce evidence pursuant to a summons or subpoena, or;
  • Offer, or attempt to offer a benefit to a juror in order to influence their conduct, or to encourage them not to attend proceedings with the intention of perverting the course of justice.

If you are found guilty of either of these forms of conduct, you could face a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment.

You can also be charged with an offence under s 321 if you are a witness or juror and you solicit, accept or agree to accept a benefit in these circumstances.

The maximum penalty in these cases is again 10 years imprisonment.

While this is evidently a very heavy penalty, it will only apply in the most serious cases.

Our highly experienced criminal lawyers can assist you in avoiding these onerous penalties.

The Legislation

Section 321 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) deals with the offence of “corruption of witnesses and jurors” and reads as follows:

321 Corruption of witnesses and jurors

(1) A person who confers or procures or offers to confer or procure or attempt to procure any benefit on or for any person:

(a) intending to influence any person called or to be called as a witness in any judicial proceeding to give false evidence or withhold true evidence or to not attend as a witness or not produce anything in evidence pursuant to a summons or subpoena, or

(b) intending to influence any person (whether or not a particular person) in the person’s conduct as a juror in any judicial proceeding or to not attend as a juror in any judicial proceeding, whether he or she has been sworn as a juror or not, and intending to pervert the course of justice,

is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) A person who solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit for himself or herself or any other person:

(a) in consideration for any agreement or undertaking that any person will as a witness in any judicial proceeding give false evidence or withhold true evidence or not attend as a witness or not produce anything in evidence pursuant to a summons or subpoena, or

(b) on account of anything to be done or omitted to be done by him or her or another person as a juror in any judicial proceeding, or on account of his or her or another person’s not attending as a juror in any judicial proceeding, intending to pervert the course of justice,

is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

Being accused of attempting to corrupt a witness or a juror may potentially result in a conviction on your criminal record and heavy penalties under the law.

In these types of cases, it’s important to seek assistance from a reputable and experienced lawyer with a proven track record of fighting and winning these types of cases.

The expert defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers has considerable experience defending clients in “corruption of witnesses and jurors” matters and can give you the advice and representation you need when it comes to fighting the charges.

Our criminal law specialists will dedicate the time and effort to carefully examine all the evidence in order to identify problems with the prosecution case.

Where possible, we will write to the prosecution raising these issues and seeking to have the charges dropped on this basis.

Alternatively, if your matter progresses to a defended hearing or criminal trial, our senior lawyers will work alongside leading barristers to protect your innocence.

We can also help you achieve a lenient penalty if you simply wish to plead guilty to the charges.

In these cases, we will prepare effective sentencing submissions which focus on positive factors in order to reduce the seriousness of your offending.

An excellent result depends on the hard work of an excellent legal team. For the best representation in your matter, call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first appointment with us.