Section 319 Crimes Act 1900 | Perverting Course of Justice


The legal system aims to be just and fair, and as such the courts take any attempts to interfere with the criminal justice system very seriously.

However, by understanding the law in relation to this offence, you can put yourself in the best possible position when it comes to fighting the charges.

Section 319 of the Crimes Act 1900 contains the offence of “perverting the course of justice.”

It says that if you are found guilty of perverting the course of justice, you could face a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

You may be wondering what is meant by “perverting the course of justice.”

A definition is contained in section 312 of the Crimes Act, which states that it refers to any act or omission which is intended to “obstruct, prevent, pervert or defeat the course of justice or the administration of the law.”

Examples of conduct that could be taken to amount to “perverting the course of justice” include:

  • Encouraging or bribing someone to plead guilty to an offence they did not commit
  • Asking others to provide a false alibi
  • Bribing police officers or judicial officers
  • Making false statements or claims to police in relation to a criminal proceeding.

The prosecution must prove that you intended to cause some injustice through your actions.

While the penalty for this offence is obviously very high to reflect its seriousness, it is important to bear in mind that this is the maximum penalty, which means that it is reserved for only the most serious offences.

Often, you will receive a much lower penalty – for instance, prominent Federal Court justice Marcus Einfeld served just three years’ imprisonment for perverting the course of justice, with a non-parole period of two years.

Our criminal law experts can help you get the best possible outcome in your ‘perverting the course of justice’ case – so give us a call today on (02) 9261 8881 and book an appointment with one of our specialists.

The Legislation

Section 319 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of “perverting the course of justice” and reads as follows:

319 General offence of perverting the course of justice

A person who does any act, or makes any omission, intending in any way to pervert the course of justice, is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

If you’ve been charged with perverting the course of justice, it’s important that you seek assistance from a highly experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers specialises exclusively in criminal law. Our highly respected lawyers have a thorough understanding of the operation of the justice system and possess the insight and expertise to give you the best possible advice about how to fight the charges.

Our expert lawyers can help you avoid a conviction by thoroughly examining the evidence to find issues with the prosecution case and pushing to have these charges dropped early on.

Should the prosecution refuse to drop the charges, our Accredited Criminal Law Specialists will fight hard to protect your rights in court by raising any defences to support your case.

If you wish to plead guilty, you can trust our highly experienced advocates to put forth your case in the most positive light to maximise your chances of obtaining the most lenient penalty possible.

Call Sydney’s criminal law specialists now on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference with our expert lawyers today.