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Influencing a Witness

Influencing a witness is an offence under section 323(a) of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison.

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

  1. You engaged in any act, and
  2. You did so intending to procure, persuade, induce or otherwise cause any person called, or to be called, as a witness in judicial proceedings to give false evidence, withhold true evidence, not attend as a witness or not produce any thing in evidence under a subpoena or summons.

A ‘judicial proceeding’ is one in or before which a judicial tribunal can take evidence under oath.

A ‘judicial tribunal’ is any person, including a coroner or arbitrator, or any court or other body authorised by law or by the consent of the parties to conduct a hearing to determine any matter or thing.

The maximum penalty increases to 14 years in prison where the prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you intended by your conduct to procure the conviction or acquittal of any person for a serious indictable offence.

A ‘serious indictable offence’ is one that carries a maximum penalty of at least 5 years in prison.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Duress, and
  2. Self defence, including the defence of another.

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