What Happens If You Make a False Statement to Police or Lie In Court?

There are many reasons that a person may make a false statement to the police or lie in court. It could be for reasons that a person may be trying to protect themselves or protect their loved ones. It could also be for reasons such as a person is trying to get someone else into trouble or take advantage of them.

If you lie during a criminal investigation, it is known as perverting the course of justice. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years jail term.

When a person intentionally makes a false statement, it is known as perjury. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years jail term.

Making a false Apprehended Person Violence Order (APVO) has now become a criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of 12 months jail term and/or fine of up to $1,100.

An APVO is an apprehended violence order where there are no domestic relationships between the parties, for example, neighbours, co-workers, or other members of the public with whom the relevant persons do not share a domestic relationship.

The definition of domestic relationship for the purposes of an AVO can be spouse, de-facto or family members.

The legislation specifies that an offender must knowingly give a false or misleading statement. The law excludes persons with cognitive disabilities or mental health issues who may give false information without intentionally doing so.

What happens if you are scared to tell the truth in court?

If you are required to attend court and called as a witness, but you are scared to tell the truth in court in the case of self-incrimination, for example- by answering the question might tend to prove that you committed a crime, you may object from giving evidence and you may be able to benefit from witness immunity.

A certificate may be given to you by the court wherein circumstances you provide truthful evidence that will not be allowed to be used against you in any future proceedings or the magistrate or judge will need to decide whether or not you will be required to answer the question at all.

It is important you seek legal advice if you are attending court as a witness. Call Criminal Lawyers Sydney on (02) 9152 8619 if you would like advice on attending court as a witness.