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Perverting the Course of Justice

Perverting the Course of Justice is an offence under Section 319 of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

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

  1. You engaged in an act or made an omission, and
  2. By that act or omission, you intended to pervert the course of justice

The definition of ‘Perverting the Course of Justice’ is, ‘obstructing, preventing, perverting or defeating the course of justice or the administration of law’.

Examples of the offence include:

  1. Attempting to bribe a police or judicial officer to avoid being prosecuted or punished
  2. Falsely swearing or declaring that another person was responsible for an offence
  3. Using another’s phone or email to manufacture a defence to a crime
  4. Encouraging or bribing another person to plead guilty to a crime they did not commit, or provide a false alibi, or give false testimony in court.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Duress,
  2. Necessity, and
  3. Self-defence

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