What the law says
Section 217 of the Crime and Misconduct Act, Queensland states:
(1) A person must not state anything to the commission the person knows is false or misleading in a material particular.
(2) It is enough for a complaint for an offence against subsection (1) to state the statement made was ‘false or misleading’ to the person’s knowledge, without specifying which.
(5) Without limiting the ways a person may state a thing to the commission, a person states a thing to the commission if the person states the thing to an entity that is under an obligation to advise the commission of the thing, whether or not the person intended that the commission be advised of the statement.
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 stated something to:
(a) the commission; OR
(b) an entity that is under the obligation to advise the commission of the statement; AND
(2) All or part of that statement was false or misleading; AND
(3) You were aware at the time that all or part of the statement was false or misleading; AND
(4) The content of the statement 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 statement to the commission or an entity that was under the obligation to advise the commission of the statement.
- The content in the statement was in fact true and presented in a manner that accurately portrayed the true meaning of the information.
- The content in the statement that was false or misleading, was not in respect of a material particular.
- You were unaware that the content in the statement 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.
- 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 statement.
- Identification i.e. the accused was not the offender.