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Perjury

What the law says

Sections 123 of the Criminal Code Queensland states:

  1. Any person who in any judicial proceeding, or for the purpose of instituting any judicial proceeding, knowingly gives false testimony touching any matter which is material to any question then depending in that proceeding, or intended to be raised in that proceeding, is guilty of a crime which is called perjury.
  2. It is immaterial whether the testimony is given on oath or under any other sanction authorised by law.
  3. The forms and ceremonies used in administering the oath or in otherwise binding the person giving the testimony to speak the truth are immaterial, if the person assents to the forms and ceremonies actually used.
  4. It is immaterial whether the false testimony is given orally or in writing.
  5. It is immaterial whether the court or tribunal is properly constituted, or is held in the proper place, or not, if it actually acts as a court or tribunal in the proceeding in which the testimony is given
  6. It is immaterial whether the person who gives the testimony is a competent witness or not, or whether the testimony is admissible in the proceeding or not.

The offender cannot be arrested without warrant.

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 was lawfully sworn as a witness in a judicial proceeding;
  2. The accused made a statement wilfully-that is to say he made the statement deliberately and not inadvertently or by mistake or at cross purposes with the person questioning him.
  3. The statement was false;
  4. The accused knew it was false;
  5. The statement was material, that is, it was of such significance that it was capable of affecting the decision of the court.

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 Perjury is life imprisonment.

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is indictable which means it is dealt with in the District Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. Necessity
  2. Honest and reasonable belief the statement was correct.
  3. Statement was the truth
  4. Hearing was not a judicial hearing
  5. Statement made was not relevant to the proceedings

Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Perjury matters)

 

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