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False Or Misleading Information

What the law says

Sections 137.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code states:

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a) the person gives information to another person; and

(b) the person does so knowing that the information:

(i) is false or misleading; or

(ii) omits any matter or thing without which the information is misleading and

(c) any of the following subparagraphs apply:

(i) the information is given to a Commonwealth entity;

(ii) the information is given to a person who is exercising powers or performing functions under, or in connection with, a law of the Commonwealth;

(iii) the information is given in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the Commonwealth.

(1A) Absolute liability applies to each of the subparagraph (1)(c)(i)(ii) and (iii) elements of the offence.

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. The accused gave information to another person; and

2. The accused did so knowing that the information:

(a) is false or misleading; or

(b) omits any matter or thing without which the information is misleading and

      3. any of the following subparagraphs apply:

(a) the information is given to a Commonwealth entity;

 (b) the information is given to a person who is exercising powers or performing functions under, or       in connection with, a law of the Commonwealth;

(c) the information is given in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the Commonwealth.

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

The Maximum penalty for the offence of False or Misleading Information is 12 months imprisonment.

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is Commonwealth Offence which means it is dealt with in the Magistrates Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. The accused did not give information to another person.
  2. The accused did not know that the information was misleading; or omit any matter or thing without which the information is misleading
  3. The information is not false of misleading in a material particular.
  4. Subsection (1) does not apply as a result of subparagraph (1)(c)(i) if, before the information was given by a person to the Commonwealth entity, the Commonwealth entity did not take reasonable steps to inform the person of the existence of the offence against subsection (1).
  5. Subsection (1) does not apply as a result of subparagraph (1)(c)((ii) if, before the information was given by a person (the first person) to the person mentioned in that subparagraph (the second person), the second person did not take reasonable steps to inform the first person of the existence of the offence against subsection (1)
  6. Identification i.e. it was not the accused.
 

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