Making False Reports to Police

– section 53 of the Summary Offences Act 1966

This offence is when you tell the police something that is untrue. And because of what you have told the Police, the police conduct an investigation. Essentially this is a charge against wasting the time and resources of the Police.

Examples of Making False Reports to Police
  • A man is angry with another man, and as revenge, he tells the Police the other man is a pedophile and has child pornography on his home computer. When in fact this is a lie. The Police investigate the other man.
  • A woman involved in a crime wants to distract the Police from an investigation. She falsely accuses someone else of being involved in the crime. The other person is completely innocent. The Police question the other person.
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of Making False Reports to Police?
  • The report you made to the Police was true.
  • You did not know that what you said to the Police was not true.

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
  • Can they prove that you knew what you said was false?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of 120 penalty units or imprisonment for 1 year.

Making false reports to police is heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

“Did you lie to the Police?”
What is the legal definition of Making False Reports to Police?

When a person knowingly made a false report to the Police. And the false report caused a police investigation.

Legislation

The section that covers this offence is section 53 of the Summary Offences Act 1966.1

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

You are mostly likely to receive a fine for this charge if you are found guilty. You will need to pay the cost of the Police investigation. In more serious cases or for repeat offences, you may also get some time in prison.

 


[1] Summary Offences Act 1966 – Section 53

(1) Any person who falsely and with knowledge of the falsity of the report voluntarily reports or causes to be reported to any police officer or to a protective services officer that an act has been done or an event has occurred, which act or event as so reported is such as calls for an investigation by a police officer or a protective services officer shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty: 120 penalty units or imprisonment for 1 year.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)—
(a) “voluntarily”, in respect of a report by any person, means—
(i) of that person’s own motion and volition; and
(ii) otherwise than in the course of an interrogation made by a police officer or a protective services officer; and
(b) “causes to be reported” includes creating any circumstances or doing any acts for the purpose of inducing or which induce some other person to report to a police officer or to a protective services officer that an act has been done or event occurred which calls for investigation by a police officer or a protective services officer.
(6A) In addition to and without derogating from section 86 of the Sentencing Act 1991 , if a court finds a person guilty of, or convicts a person of, an offence against this section, the court may order the person to pay to the informant a reasonable amount for any expenses, including remuneration payable to any emergency service worker within the meaning of Division 2B of Part 4 of the Sentencing Act 1991 , incurred by the State arising out of or incidental to the commission of the offence.
(6AB) In subsection (6A) “remuneration”, in relation to a person, includes long service leave entitlements, holiday pay, superannuation contributions and any other employment benefits.
(6AC) If a court decides to make an order under subsection (6A), subsections (2), (3), (4), (7), (8) and (9) of section 86 of the Sentencing Act 1991 apply as if—
(a) a reference to an order under subsection (1) were a reference to an order under subsection (6A); and
(b) a reference to compensation were a reference to expenses referred to in subsection (6A).
(6AD) An order under subsection (6A) must be taken to be a judgment debt due by the offender to the informant and payment of any amount remaining unpaid under the order may be enforced in the court by which it was made.
(6B) Any moneys received by the informant under subsection (6A) shall be paid by him to the Consolidated Fund.