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Furnish False or Misleading Information (Sex Offender Registry)

– section 47 of the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004

Furnish False or misleading information applies to registered sex offenders. It is when a registered sex offender provides inaccurate or incorrect details about himself or herself.
Examples of Furnish False or Misleading Information (Sex Offender Registry)
  • A registered sex offender makes a false statement about where she lives.
  • A registered sex offender misleads police officers about children he has contact with.
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of Furnish False or Misleading Information (Sex Offender Registry)?
  • The information provided was not false or misleading.
  • You were not aware of your obligations in relation to the information.

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 say something to the Police about yourself or your circumstances that was incorrect?
  • Can they prove that something you said was false?
Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is level 7 imprisonment (2 years).

These kinds of cases are heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

“Did the police misunderstand what you said?

What is the legal definition of Furnish False or Misleading Information (Sex Offender Registry)?

Furnish False or misleading information is when a registered sex offender provides information that is inaccurate, incorrect or misleading. And the information is in relation to requirements under the Sex Offenders Registry.

Legislation

The section that covers this offence is section 47 of the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004.

Elements of the offence

A person may be found guilty of the offence of Furnish False or Misleading Information (Sex Offender Registry) if the following elements are proven in court beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused is a registrable sex offender; and
    According to section 6 of the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004, a registrable offender is a person whom a court has at any time (whether before, on or after 1 October 2004) sentenced for a registrable offence.
  2. The accused provided details to the Register that he or she knows to be false or misleading in a material particular; or
  3. The accused provided details to which section 14(1)(d), (da), (db), (dc), (dd), (e), (ea), (f), (g), (j), (k) or (m) of the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 applies and which the registrable offender knows to be false or misleading in a material particular; or
  4. The accused provided details to which section 14(1)(a), (b), (c), (h), (i) or (l) of the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 applies and which the registrable offender knows to be false or misleading in a material particular.
What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

If the false information concerns your contact with children then you might go to jail if you are found guilty. However, if the false information is less serious, then you may only incur a fine or a Community Corrections Order. Obviously every case depends on its own facts and what can be said in your favour.

Sentencing in the higher courts

From 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2016, there were 14 charges of Furnish False or misleading information (Sex Offender Registry) that were heard in the higher courts of Victoria. All of these charges resulted in imprisonment, with 7.1% sentenced to a term between 1 and 2 years and 21.4% to a term that was less than a year.1

Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts

In Victorian Magistrates’ Courts, 52 cases of Furnish False or misleading information (Sex Offender Registry) were heard from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016. These cases resulted in financial penalties (32.7%), imprisonment (25.0%), Community Correction Order (23.1%), wholly suspended sentence (13.5%), partially suspended sentence (3.9%), and adjourned undertaking/discharge/dismissal (1.9%).

Of the cases that went to prison, the majority were sentenced to a term that was somewhere between 3 and 6 months (46.2%). The highest term imposed was somewhere between 18 and 24 months (7.7%).

For the charges that led to fines, majority fell under the “$1,000 < $2,000" category (38.7% for aggregate) and "less than $500" (9.7% for non-aggregate). The highest amount imposed was between $2,000 and $3,000 (9.7% for aggregate).2

Please note that suspended sentences were abolished in Victoria for all offences committed on or after 1 September 2014.3

Other Important Resources

 



[1] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SACStat Higher Courts – Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic) : s 47 – furnish false or misleading information.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/higher_courts/HC_04_56_47.html (accessed January 29, 2019).
[2] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic) : s 47 – furnish false or misleading information.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/04_56_47.html (accessed January 29, 2019).
[3] Sentencing Advisory Council. “Suspended Sentence.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/about-sentencing/sentencing-options-for-adults/suspended-sentence (accessed January 29, 2019).