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Preventing, Obstructing or Dissuading a Witness from Attending Judicial Proceedings

Preventing, obstructing or dissuading a witness from attending judicial proceedings is an offence under section 325(1) of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

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

  1. You prevented, obstructed or dissuaded a person called as a witness in judicial proceedings from attending as a witness or producing anything in evidence under a summons or subpoena
  2. You did so wilfully, and
  3. You did not have a lawful excuse for your conduct.

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.

Wilfully means intentionally, whether you had a ‘lawful excuse’ is a matter of fact matter determined by the court.

Defences to the charge include:

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

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