What the law says
Section 218 of the Crime and Misconduct Act, Queensland states:
(1) A person must not give the commission a document containing information the person knows is false or misleading in a material particular.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a person if the person, when giving the document-
(a) tells the commission, to the best of the person’s ability, how it is false or misleading; and
(b) if the person has, or can reasonably obtain, the correct information, gives the correct information.
(3) It is enough for a complaint for an offence against subsection (1) to state the document was ‘false or misleading’ to the person’s knowledge, without specifying which.
(6) Without limiting the ways a person may give a document to the commission, a person gives a document to the commission if the person gives the document to an entity that is under an obligation to give the document to the commission, whether or not the person intended that the document be given to the commission.
(7) In this section-
give, a document to the commission, includes cause the document to be given to the commission.
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 gave a document or caused a document to be given to:
(a) the commission; OR
(b) an entity that is under the obligation to advise the commission of the document; AND
(2) All or part of that document was false or misleading; AND
(3) You were aware at the time that all or part of the document was false or misleading; AND
(4) The content of the document 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. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.
Maximum penalty – 85 penalty units or 1 year imprisonment.
You may also be required to pay compensation to the commission for the reasonable cost of any action taken by the commission because of the false or misleading statement.
Penalty unit = $100.00
Which court will hear the matter
Under section 3(5) of the Criminal Code Act Queensland this offence is classed a simple offence and therefore may be heard in the Magistrates Court pursuant to section 19 of the Justices Act Queensland.
It is also possible that your matter will be heard in the District Court.
Possible defences to the offence include, but are not limited to:
- You never in fact gave a document or caused a document to be given, to the commission or an entity that was under the obligation to advise the commission of the document.
- The content in the document was in fact true and presented in a manner that accurately portrayed the true meaning of the information.
- The content in the document that was false or misleading, was not in respect of a material particular.
- You were unaware that the content in the document was false or misleading, and believed the information to be true and presented in a manner that accurately portrayed the true meaning of the information.
- You told the commission (or entity) to the best of your ability, how the content in the document was false or misleading at the time and gave the commission (or entity) all the correct information reasonably obtainable.
- 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 a false or misleading document.
- Identification i.e. the accused was not the offender.