What the law says
Section 33 of the Australian Crime Commission Act, Commonwealth states:
(1) A person shall not, at an examination before an examiner, give evidence that is to his or her knowledge false or misleading in a material particular.
What the police must prove
In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
(1) You were summonsed to appear at an examination before an examiner; AND
(2) You attended at the examination before an examiner and gave evidence; AND
(3) All or part of that evidence was false or misleading; AND
(4) You were aware at the time that the evidence was false or misleading; AND
(5) The evidence that was false or misleading was in respect of a material particular.
It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.
Maximum penalty – 200 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment.
Penalty unit = $100.00
Which court will hear the matter
This is an indictable offence. As a general rule, indictable offences of this nature must be heard in the District Court, however it may heard summarily in the Magistrates Court by virtue of section 33(3) of the Australian Crime Commission Act, Commonwealth.
Possible defences to an offence against either subsection (1), (2) or (3) include but are not limited to:
- You never in fact gave any evidence before an examiner pursuant to a summons.
- The content in the evidence was in fact true and presented in a manner that accurately portrayed the true meaning of the information.
- The content that was false or misleading was not in respect of a material particular.
- You were unaware that the content was false or misleading, and believed the information was true and presented in a manner that accurately portrayed the true meaning of the information.
- Duress – example: there was a threat of harm to the accused or another person that the accused reasonably believe would be carried out if he/she did not give false or misleading evidence.
- Identification i.e. the accused was not the discloser.