Falsification of documents

– section 83A of the Crimes Act 1958

falsification of documentsFalsification of Documents is when documents are forged in order to get someone else to do something.

Examples of Falsification of Documents
  • A 16 year old girl makes a false ID to get into over 18 clubs.
  • A man has a machine that makes fake passports.
  • A woman makes a fake bank statement to get a loan.
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of Falsification of Documents?
  • No documents were forged.
  • There was no knowledge that the documents were false.
  • No damage was caused by any false documents.

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 forge any documents?
  • Can they prove that you forged documents?
  • Was anyone affected by the false documents?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is level 5 imprisonment (10 years).

This is a strictly indictable charge which means that your case must be heard in the County Court.
 

“Did you forge documents?”

 

What is the legal definition of Falsification of Documents?

To prove this charge, the Prosecution must show that you intentionally made or used or had a document which was false. And that false document was relied on by someone else to their disadvantage. Or you intentionally used a false document to induce someone else to do or not do something to their disadvantage. Or you had possession of a machine designed or adapted for the intention of making a false document.

Legislation

The section that covers this offence is section 83A of the Crimes Act 1958.1
 

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

Falsification of documents is a serious offence that can result in a prison term if you are found guilty. However, as with most charges, it depends on your personal circumstances.

Other Important Resources
Case Studies

 


[1] Crimes Act 1958 – Section 83A

(1) A person must not make a false document with the intention that he or she, or another person, shall use it to induce another person to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to that other person’s, or to another person’s prejudice.
Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).
(2) A person must not use a document which is, and which he or she knows to be, false, with the intention of inducing another person to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to that other person’s, or to another person’s prejudice.
Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).
(3) A person must not make a copy of a document which is, and which he or she knows to be, a false document, with the intention that he or she, or another person, shall use it to induce another person to accept it as a copy of a genuine document and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to that other person’s, or to another person’s prejudice.
Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).
(4) A person must not use a copy of a document which is, and which he or she knows to be, a false document, with the intention of inducing another person to accept it as a copy of a genuine document and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to that other person’s, or to another person’s prejudice.
Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).
(5) A person must not have in his or her custody, or under his or her control, a document which is, and which he or she knows to be, false, with the intention that the person or another shall use it to induce another person to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to that other person’s, or to another person’s, prejudice.
Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).
(5A) A person must not, with the intention that he or she may commit an offence against subsection (1), make, or have in his or her custody, or under his or her control, a machine or implement, or paper or other material, which is, and which he or she knows to be, specially designed or adapted for the making of a document which, if made by him or her, would be false.
Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).
(5B) A person must not, with the intention that another person may commit an offence against subsection (1), make, or have in his or her custody, or under his or her control, a machine or implement, or paper or other material, which is, and which he or she knows to be, specially designed or adapted for the making of a document which, if made by that other person, would be false.
Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).
(5C) A person must not, without lawful excuse, make or have in his or her custody, or under his or her control, a machine or implement, or paper or other material, which is and which the person knows to be specially designed or adapted for the making of a document which, if made by him or her, would be false.
Penalty: Level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum).
(6) For the purpose of this section, a document is false if it purports—
(a) to have been made in the form in which it is made by a person who did not in fact make it in that form; or
(b) to have been made in the form in which it is made on the authority of a person who did not in fact authorise its making in that form; or
(c) to have been made in the terms in which it is made by a person who did not in fact make it in those terms; or
(d) to have been made in the terms in which it is made on the authority of a person who did not in fact authorise its making in those terms; or
(e) to have been altered in any respect by a person who did not in fact alter it in that respect; or
(f) to have been altered in any respect on the authority of a person who did not in fact authorise the alteration in that respect; or
(g) to have been made or altered on a date on which, or at a place at which, or otherwise in circumstances in which, it was not in fact made or altered; or
(h) to have been made or altered by an existing person who did not in fact exist.
(7) For the purposes of this section, a person is to be treated as making a false document if the person alters a document so as to make it false in any respect (whether or not it is false in some other respect apart from that alteration).
(8) For the purposes of this section, an act or omission is to a person’s prejudice if, and only if, it is one that, if it occurs—
(a) will result—
(i) in the person’s temporary or permanent loss of property; or
(ii) in the person’s being deprived of an opportunity to earn remuneration or greater remuneration; or
(iii) in the person’s being deprived of an opportunity to obtain a financial advantage otherwise than by way of remuneration; or
(b) will result in any person being given an opportunity—
(i) to earn remuneration or greater remuneration from the first-mentioned person; or
(ii) to obtain a financial advantage from the first-mentioned person otherwise than by way of remuneration; or
(c) will be the result of the person’s having accepted a false document as genuine, or a copy of a false document as a copy of a genuine one, in connection with the person’s performance of a duty.
(9) In this section—
(a) a reference to inducing a person to accept a false document as genuine, or a copy of a false document as a copy of a genuine document, shall be read as including a reference to causing a machine to respond to the document or copy as if it were a genuine document or a copy of a genuine document, as the case may be; and
(b) if—
(i) a machine so responds to a document or copy; and
(ii) the act or omission intended to be caused by the machine’s so responding is an act or omission that, if it were an act or omission of a person, would be to a person’s prejudice within the meaning of subsection (1)—
the act or omission intended to be caused by the machine’s so responding shall be deemed to be an act or omission to a person’s prejudice.
(10) In proceedings for an offence against this section, if it is necessary to allege an intent to induce a person to accept a false document as genuine, or a copy of a false document as a copy of a genuine one, it is not necessary to allege that the accused intended so to induce a particular person.