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Perjury Offences and Penalties in Tasmania

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Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

Perjury is an offence of judicial fraud and deception that can attract severe penalties in Tasmania. The Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas) contains the Tasmania legislation and description against the offence of Perjury in any form.

If an individual is convicted for a perjury offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a police check.

  1. Perjury Offences

For a person to be guilty of Perjury, they must have accepted to be sworn as witnesses or "evidence-provider" in a legal procedure or formal court. And while being a witness, the person knowingly gives false accounts and testimony before the court, intending to affect the court sentencing.

Section 94 of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas) further extends the offence of Perjury to include where the person is an interpreter or sworn in to help the court with a legal proceeding. And the person gives a testimony they believe not to be true. The person is guilty of an offence of Perjury under the law.

Subsection 2 further explains that perjury offence includes a person making a false statement under oath before a person authorised by the law. The offender does not necessarily need to have made such a false claim in court before they are guilty of the offence.

The offence may not necessarily be in Tasmania

Subsection 3 of s94 of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas) also describes an offence of Perjury to be committed in the State including where;

  • Areas or territories under the administration or dominion of the Crown,
  • In a lawfully constituted British tribunal, whether on land or sea outside the Crown's administration/dominion
  • In any tribunal of a foreign state.

The type/place of the tribunal is immaterial

Subsection 5 of s94 makes it immaterial that the judicial proceeding (where the offence is deemed to be committed) is properly constituted or held in the proper place under the law. It also makes the place or type of legal procedure irrelevant when considering the offence of Perjury.

  1. The offence of False swearing

A person is guilty of the offence of swearing falsely if when being or required to give any evidence to a matter;

  • Wilfully makes a false statement,
  • Intentionally use a false affidavit for any purpose for which an affidavit or related document will be authorised.

The crime of the accused person guilty for all these is charged with is False Swearing or Use of False affidavit.

  1. Evidence on the charge of Perjury

Section 96 of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas) prohibits the court from convicting a person of a perjury offence under s94 and s95 from the testimony of just one witness. Before convicting a person of a perjury claim, the court must sieve and listen through various evidence alleging the claim.

Section 96 prevents the court from hasty judgement or listening to the potential vindictive actions of the accuser.

Offences relating to Perjury

Perjury offences can be very damaging to a matter, and in most cases, to a person. These offences usually attract heavy penalties, primarily if the original hearing resulted in a life imprisonment term and is indictable offence in Tasmania.

There are many other offences relating to Perjury in Tasmania, and they include;

  • ✔ Fabricating evidence

It is a severe offence for a person to distort or fabricate a material that would be useful in court as "evidence". The charge includes where the person manufactures or distorts evidence in any manner unacceptable by the court.

Knowingly makes use of a fabricated material/version for a legal proceeding.

The Criminal Code states that it is a charge of "Fabricating evidence in court" or "Using Fabricated evidence."

  • ✔ Corruption of witnesses

Section 98 of the Criminal Code in Tasmania describes an offence of corruption of witnesses to mean where;

  • A person agrees to receive, obtain or agrees to collect any form of benefit under the agreement they will provide a false witness in a court proceeding.
  • The person (giver) offers, gives, procures or attempts to reward a person (a witness) in the agreement that they will issue a false statement or evidence in a legal proceeding.

Any of these two categories of people are guilty of an offence of

  • Corruption concerning a witness, or
  • Corrupting a witness

For this section, there must be evidence or a form of understanding that the witness agreed or accepted to collect a reward or any benefits for the understanding that they will issue a false witness in court.

A person who (related or not to the matter) succeeds in convincing a person to offer a biased statement for a reward is guilty of an offence.

  • ✔ Suppressing or withholding evidence

It is an offence for a person to knowingly and wilfully deal inappropriately with evidence (or potential material for evidence).

A person can inappropriately deal with evidence in any of the following manners;

  • Alters the nature of the evidence,
  • Wilfully destroy it,
  • Conceals the evidence
  • Deal with it in any manner inappropriate with legislation

The person is guilty of the crime of "Suppressing Evidence."

  • ✔ Interfering with witnesses

It is an offence (s100 of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas)) for a person to deal or interact with a witness in a manner especially considered inconsistent. It includes where the person, with an intent to evade or obstruct justice;

  • Dissuades a witness from attending a legal proceeding where they are summoned
  • Prevent them from giving a true account or witness
  • Obstruct them from any duty that will aid in the court proceeding
  • Deal with them in a manner that would cause a person of reasonable firmness not to attend the proceeding.

Subsection (b) of section 100 also includes cases where the person threatens with any form of violence, threats, fear, blackmail, assault or causing any loss that would make them reasonably fear for their lives or loss of possessions.

Any such attack on the person or helpful material for the judicial proceeding is a crime under the law. Section 100 describes it as a charge of "Interfering with a witness."

  • ✔ Falsifying evidence as a shorthand writer

Section 101 of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas) describes an offence where a person wilfully changes an essential aspect of a document while copying them. It includes all cases where the person permits, supervises or causes such falsifying records.

It attracts a charge of Falsifying evidence as a shorthand writer.

Similar Offences to Perjury also includes Offences of:

  • ✔ Compounding Crimes as described by section 102 of the Act
  • ✔ Compounding penal actions under section 103
  • ✔ Bringing fictitious actions on a penal statute under section 104.

Will a Perjury Offence show up on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

If an individual is found guilty of a perjury offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their police check.

Individuals can obtain a nationally coordinated criminal history check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

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