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Perjury

Perjury is an offence under Section 327 of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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

  1. You made a false statement under oath or affirmation
  2. The statement was in, or in connection with, judicial proceedings
  3. The statement concerned a matter that was material to those proceedings, and
  4. You knew the statement was false or did not believe it was true

The maximum penalty increases to 14 years in prison where the prosecution proves you intended to procure the conviction or acquittal of a person for a ‘serious indictable offence’, which is an offence that carries a maximum penalty of at least 5 years in prison.

A ‘Judicial Proceeding’ is defined by Section 311 to cover any proceeding before a court, tribunal or commission where evidence may be taken on oath. Whether a statement is ‘Material’ to the proceedings is a question of law.

Examples of Perjury may include:

  1. Falsely stating in a court, tribunal or commission that another person committed a crime
  2. Falsely providing an alibi in a court, tribunal or commission, or
  3. Falsely swearing an affidavit which is used in connection with proceedings

Defences to perjury include duress and necessity.

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