False or Misleading Information

False or Misleading Information

The offence of providing False or Misleading Information is in section 137(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995. It is a criminal offence for a person to intentionally provide false or misleading information to a Commonwealth entity.

Have you been accused of False or Misleading Information? Call us to arrange a conference with one of our expert criminal defence lawyers who can answer your important legal questions.

Police Interview
The police will interview in relation to an allegation of providing False or Misleading Information if they suspect you have committed this offence. Do you know that you have a legal right to remain silent and not answer police questions? Police cannot hold that against you.

When being interviewed in relation to providing False or Misleading Information, you must remember that you do not have to answer police questions. You are not compelled to answer the police officer’s questions, which cannot be held against you.

It is worth remembering that the police will have conducted an investigation before they interview you. They will not tell you what evidence they have against you until they have given you an opportunity to make admissions.

Pleading Not Guilty
Pleading not guilty to a charge of providing false or misleading information means that you are saying you did not do it and defending the allegation in Court. The prosecution has the burden of proving, beyond reasonable doubt, that you committed the offence of providing false or misleading information. We will carefully review the charges and brief of evidence as well as obtain detailed instructions from you in order to defend you from the allegations.

Our lawyers thoroughly prepare cases and carefully look at the brief of evidence to find inconsistencies in the police case.

Pleading Guilty
If you made admissions in your interview with police and want to plead guilty to a charge of providing False or Misleading Information, we will work closely with you to help you get the lowest possible penalty in your matter. Pleading guilty may mean you accept all the allegations or some of the allegations. There may be some negotiation required with police to ensure your version of events is put forward and that you agree with the summary being presented to the Court in relation to a charge of providing false or misleading information.

We will assist you to gather character references, medical material, a psychological report and any other material that will help to mitigate your part in providing false or misleading information.
This offence would be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
 
Examples of False or Misleading Information
  • A woman tells Centrelink she is single and lives with a friend when in fact, she lives with her partner.
  • A man who was injured at work receives Work Cover and then does casual cash in hand work and does not disclose this work to Work Cover.
What is the legal definition of False or Misleading Information?
The Prosecution must show that you provided information to a Commonwealth organisation with the knowledge that the information was false or misleading. Or you failed to provide certain details, resulting in the information being misleading.

Legislation
The section that covers this offence is section 137.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.

Elements of the offence
A person may be found guilty of False or Misleading Information (Commonwealth) if the following elements are proven in court:
  • The accused gave information to another person; and
  • The accused knew that the information was false or misleading; or
  • The accused omitted any matter or thing without which the information is misleading; and
  • The information was given to a Commonwealth entity; or
  • The information was given to a person who is exercising powers or performing functions under, or in connection with, a law of the Commonwealth; or
  • The information was given in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the Commonwealth.
“Did you lie to Centrelink?”
 
  • You did not give any false or misleading information to a Commonwealth organisation.
  • You did not know that the information was false or misleading.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Did you forget to tell Centrelink something important?
  • Have you kept information from Centrelink or another government organisation?
  • Can they prove you knew the information was false or misleading?

The maximum penalty for False or Misleading Information (s137.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995) is imprisonment for 12 months.

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
You will mostly likely receive a fine or a Community Corrections Order if found guilty of this offence. However in serious cases you may might get some months in prison.