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Failure of Passenger to Disclose Identity of Driver or Other Passenger to Police

Failure of a passenger to disclose the identity of the driver or any passenger in a vehicle is an offence under section 16(2) of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You were a passenger in a vehicle,
  2. You were required to disclose the identity of a driver or passenger under section 14 of the Act, and 
  3. You failed or refused to do so.

Subsection 14(1)(b) of the Act sets out the obligations of passengers to provide identity information.

The subsection states that a police officer who suspects on reasonable grounds that a vehicle is, was or may have been use in or in connection with a serious offence may require any passenger to disclose their own identity, as well as the identity of the driver or any other passenger at or around the time the vehicle was or may have been so used, or was last stopped or a direction was given for the vehicle to stop.

You are not guilty of the offence if you establish, on the balance of probabilities, that you had a reasonable excuse for your conduct.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, necessity and self-defence.

If you are able to raise evidence of a general legal defence, the onus then shifts to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defence does not apply to the circumstances of the case.

You are entitled to an acquittal if the prosecution is unable to do this.

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