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Failure of Vehicle Owner to Disclose Identity of Driver or Passenger to Police

Failure of an owner of a vehicle to disclose the identity of a driver or passenger to police is an offence under section 17 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 the driver or an owner of a vehicle,
    2. You knew or had reason to suspect the identity of a driver or passenger of the vehicle or, if you did not know the full and correct identity of such a person, you had some information in that regard, such as the person’s alias or the general location of hir or her residential address, and
    3. You failed or refused to provide that information to police.

Subsection 14(1)(c) of the Act sets out the obligations of owners 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 used in or in connection with a serious offence may require any owner of the vehicle to disclose the identity of the driver and any passenger in the vehicle at or about the time the vehicle was or may have been so used, or at or about the time the vehicle last stopped before the requirement was made or a direction given to stop the vehicle.

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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