Published by Geoff Harrison | 6 November 2023
The offence of Pervert the Course of Justice is under s319 of the Crimes Act 1900. The maximum penalty for this offence is 14 years imprisonment. The history of this offence is set out by Simpson AJA in Johnston at . This is an offence that strikes at the heart of the justice system hence, general deterrence is a significant factor that generally results in a full-time custodial sentence.
CRIMES ACT 1900 - SECT 311
(1) In this Part--
"adult" means a person who is of or above the age of 18 years.
"benefit" means any benefit or advantage whether or not in money or money's worth.
"judicial officer" means a person who is, or who alone or with others constitutes, a judicial tribunal and includes a coroner.
"judicial proceeding" means a proceeding in or before a judicial tribunal in which evidence may be taken on oath.
"judicial tribunal" means a person (including a coroner and an arbitrator), court or body authorised by law, or by consent of parties, to conduct a hearing for the purpose of the determination of any matter or thing and includes a person, court or body authorised to conduct a committal proceeding.
"public justice official" means a person who is a public officer employed in any capacity (other than as a judicial officer) for the investigation, detection or prosecution of offenders.
(2) In this Part, a reference to the making of a statement on oath includes a reference to the verification of a statement on oath.
CRIMES ACT 1900 - SECT 312
Meaning of "pervert the course of justice"
A reference in this Part to perverting the course of justice is a reference to obstructing, preventing, perverting or defeating the course of justice or the administration of the law.
CRIMES ACT 1900 - SECT 313
Knowledge about type of offence is unnecessary
If it is an element of an offence under this Part that an offence is a serious indictable offence or child abuse offence (within the meaning of section 316A), it is not necessary for the prosecution to establish that the accused knew that the offence was a serious indictable offence or child abuse offence (within the meaning of section 316A).
CRIMES ACT 1900 - SECT 319
General offence of perverting the course of justice
A person who does any act, or makes any omission, intending in any way to pervert the course of justice, is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.