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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z) Perjury Offences Perjury Offences and Penalties in Western Australia (WA)

    Perjury Offences and Penalties in Western Australia (WA)

    Where a person is called under oath or related circumstance to give a testimony in a legal proceeding, they become part of the judicial process. It is a severe offence for such persons (witness) to provide false or distorted accounts of the testimony in a bid to affect the court sentencing,

    Generally, the offence of deceptive statements under oath before a legal proceeding or gathering is the offence of Perjury. Section 124 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA) describes cases that can constitute this offence under the law.

    If an individual is convicted in a Western Australian (WA) court for a perjury offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a Criminal History Check result in Western Australia.

    1. Perjury Offences and penalties

    Section 124 of the Act prohibits any action by the witness that leads to false testimony in court, especially in a bid to affect or instigate a legal proceeding. The crime of Perjury can be committed in various circumstances and across several proceedings notwithstanding that;

    • Such testimony was given on other sanction besides a routine oath (as long as the witness understands and consents to the process)
    • The oath was administered non–conventional as long as the witness assented and understood the significance.
    • The testimony was given verbally in court or through materials and written documents sent through any court official.
    • The court or tribunal is/not adequately constituted or formed at the period. Or if such a legal proceeding acts as a court in such a peculiar situation.
    • The person giving the testimony is a competent witness or not, or whether such is admissible in court.

    Penalty for Perjury in WA

    The offence of Perjury is a serious indictable offence in WA. Anyone the WA court finds guilty of Perjury offences is subject to a basic penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

    However, if the person commits the offence to cause the conviction of a person for a life sentence, they are guilty of a crime punishable by life imprisonment.

    1. False evidence before a Royal commission

    Section 127 finds a person guilty of an offence if they bear false accounts or untrue stories. It includes knowingly reporting an untrue account or inaccurate answer regarding a matter or question from the Royal Commission. It is an offence that carries imprisonment of up to 7 years.

    1. Threatening a witness before a Royal commission

    Section 128 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA) makes it an offence for a person to cause detriment or threaten any injury to a person who will;

    • Serve as a witness in court, or
    • Has given such evidence as a witness before court where it was not provided with malicious motives.

    And where such attack intends to hamper, delay or prevent a legal proceeding, a court sentencing.

    It is an offence that attracts a penalty of 2 years imprisonment.

    1. Fabricating evidence

    Section 129 of the Criminal Code makes it a severe offence to distort, alter, change deceitfully, or handle a document (evidence).

    The crime of fabricating evidence through any means that is not counted as Perjury or counselling or such related matters with an intent to deceive a legal proceeding is the punishment of 7 years imprisonment for such an offender.

    1. Corruption of witness

    It is a severe offence relating to Perjury that a person;

    • Offers give, promises procure monetary, material or any reward to understand that a person called in a legal proceeding will give false testimony.
    • Attempts through other means (not violent) to induce or convince a person from giving true testimony. Or where the person induces a potential witness to withhold the true account to affect the court proceeding.
    • A witness asks, solicits, blackmails, or agrees and obtains property or any other monetary reward with the agreement that they will withhold true accounts or give false witness to the detriment of a court proceeding.

    The offence of corrupting a witness carries a heavy penalty of 7 years imprisonment, as stated by section 130 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA).

    1. Deceiving a Witness

    It is illegal to practice or attempt any fraudulent means or actions or deceitful representations of related actions to confuse or misguide a witness. And where the resulting action caused the witness to give a false account or withhold testimony. It is an offence that incurs up to 7 years penalty under s131 of the Act.

    1. Destroying evidence

    Section 132 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA) describes an offence where a person knowingly/intentionally destroys/alters a;

    • Book,
    • Journal,
    • Document,
    • Recording,
    • Tape

    Or any other material that such material or document may be useful for a legal proceeding and attempt to affect the court proceeding.

    1. Preventing a witness from attending

    It is an offence to knowingly and wilfully prevent a person (whom you know to be a witness) from attending a court summons. Including where the accused prevented the witness from any form from producing relevant materials for testimony.

    As described by section 133, any such related offences are liable to penalties of 1-year imprisonment.

    1. False prosecution

    Under the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA), it is an offence for a person to knowingly append/assent to a prosecution they know to be untrue and malicious. The Criminal Procedure Act 2004 (WA) must not be abused for people's selfish and vindictive reasons.

    The offence of false accusation carries penalties up to 7-year imprisonment for culprits or those indicted.

    1. Conspiracy to commit false prosecution.

    It is an offence to conspire or agree with another person to cause or charge a person with a crime. It is irrelevant that the charge claims an offence within WA or elsewhere.

    Any of such parties who conspire know that the accused is innocent, and such a negative charge is guilty of the offence of conspiring to commit a false accusation.

    Following section 134 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA), the offences incur;

    • A basic penalty of 7 years for a primary offence,
    • If the false charge would incur penalties less than life (indictable violations), it attracts 14 years imprisonment
    • If the wrong charge is such that the person is liable to life imprisonment, the offenders will get punishments up to 20 years imprisonment.

    1. Conspiring to pervert Justice

    It is a severe offence to attempt and conspire to obstruct, prevent or sabotage the course of Justice. As stated in section 135 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA), any such actions are liable to 7 years imprisonment.

    Will a Perjury Offence in Western Australia (WA) show up on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

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

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

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