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      Perjury in NSW

      Perjury is one of the most serious offences a person can be charged with in Australia. Case law explains that it is a major threat to the judicial system.

      To maintain the integrity of the courts and public faith in the judicial system, severe penalties must be imposed which include full-time goal.

      Contact us today to speak to an accredited specialist in criminal law. We can provide immediate advice as to whether there are any defences open to you and how you can avoid a criminal conviction.



        What is Perjury?

        Perjury is the offence of knowingly making a false statement on oath in connection with any judicial proceeding. It is contained in Section 327 of the Crimes Act 1900.

        The false statement can be made in oral evidence or in writing.

        How to Prove Perjury?

        To prove perjury, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

        1. A person made a false statement; and
        2. The statement was on oath; and
        3. The statement was in connection with a judicial proceeding.


        If any of these elements are not made out, then the person will be found ‘not guilty’.

        Perjury vs False Statements

        The main difference between perjury and false statements is that perjury must be in a judicial proceeding, whilst a false statement does not have to be in such a proceeding.


        Defences to Perjury

        The following are defences to perjury:

        1. Intention: If the person who made the false statement was not aware the statement was false, or did not intend to mislead the court.
        2. Honest and reasonable mistake: If the false statement was made based on an honest and reasonable mistake.
        3. The statement was not material to the proceedings: It is a defence if the false statement was not material to the proceeding. This means that the outcome of the case was not affected by the statement.
        4. Duress: where a person is forced into making a false statement by other people.

        Our team of senior criminal lawyers have years of experience in obtaining ‘not guilty’ verdicts for perjury cases. If you have a viable defence, we also focus on having charges withdrawn by Police at an early stage in the proceedings.

        Speak a lawyer for perjury charges now to obtain advice on any possible defences you may have open to you.


        If you decide to plead guilty, our guide on pleading guilty to perjury offences will provide you some assistance in preparing for sentencing. Please note that this guide is a non-exhaustive list and not specifically tailored to your case.

        Contact us now so that our accredited specialist in criminal law can provide you advice tailored to your case and represent you in Court.

        Perjury Punishment?

        The maximum punishment for perjury is 10 years’ imprisonment.

        Perjury Sentencing

        Below are options in sentencing for perjury:

        • Section 10 dismissal
        • Conditional Release Order without Conviction (previously known as Section 10 good behaviour bond)
        • Fine
        • Conditional Release Order with Conviction (previously known as Section 9 good behaviour bond)
        • Community Corrections Order (previously known as Community Service Order)
        • Intensive Corrections Order
        • Full Time Imprisonment

        See below for likely penalties.

        Can You Go to Jail for Perjury?

        Yes, you can go to jail for perjury. Looking at statistics in the last ten years, 75% of offenders were sentenced to some form of imprisonment. All remaining offenders received criminal convictions.

        As you can see, there is a high likelihood of being sentenced to gaol for an offence of this nature. That is why you should engage Australia’s leading perjury lawyers. If there are no defences open to you, we have years of experience with our clients avoiding jail for perjury offences.


      How to Charge Someone with Perjury?

      You can charge someone with perjury if there is some independent evidence that proves the allegation of a deliberate lie.

      A person cannot be convicted of perjury just because their evidence is not believed.

      Perjury Examples

      Some examples of perjury include:

      • Lying in court so your partner is not found guilty of a criminal offence.
      • Making a false statement with the intention of another person being falsely convicted.
      • Providing a false alibi for someone in connection with a court case.
      • Lying in court documents or an affidavit.
      • Perjury by false affidavit that contains false information in judicial proceedings.

      Famous Perjury Prosecution Examples

      While it is relatively common for people to lie under oath, prosecutions for perjury are rare. The main situations where individuals are charged with perjury are where the consequences of the false statement are very serious or where the conduct sets a very bad example.

      One of the most famous examples of a perjury prosecution in Australia was former Federal Court Judge, Marcus Einfield.

      Marcus Einfield pleaded guilty to the offence of perjury and perverting the course of justice in 2008. This was based on the Judge making a statutory declaration that a friend of his had been the driver of his vehicle. He also said this on oath in court. As a result, a speeding offence against him was dismissed.

      It was later revealed that the friend he had nominated as the driver of the vehicle was deceased. Police investigated the matter that resulted in Enfield being charged.

      The former judicial officer was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 15 months.

      In their remarks on sentence, the Supreme Court of New South Wales found that the lies were premeditated and self-serving.

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