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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71053
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Can you prosecuted for Perjury for a wrongly nominated nip

Customer Question

Can you prosecuted for Perjury for a wrongly nominated nip speeding ticket even though you contacted the authorities and made them aware of the mistake before any proceedings started. Also it was not under oath
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes I am self employed and own several vehicles in my name as I am a sole trader and have been for 30 years. I nominated the wrong person on a nip speeding ticket 47mph in a 40mph zone

The police went to see the person and he said he was not driving he called me and told me, I then contacted the police to let them know of the mistake.

They brought me in for questioning and they then looked back through 10 years of speeding tickets and put me under investigation.

After 8 months I was charged with perjury for the original offence and now I face prosecution in the courts

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Do you mean perjury or perverting the course of justice?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No definitely just Perjury not perverting the course of justice.

It seemed to have the prosecuting barrister a little confused to when I went for the first court hearing he actually said its a very interesting question and one he would like to defend

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

There is a declaration at the end of a S172 form that means that a false declaration does amount to perjury potentially but its not the offence I would have charged. I would have charged this as perverting and you will probably find the Crown will amend the indictment to perverting at some point when somebody considers it.

That is not all that much better though. Perverting is a serious offence as well.

In either case, they have to prove that you gave incorrect information intending to pervert the cause of justice or with knowledge that it is wrong. A simple error is not enough.

Its all very well that they may have a statement from somebody saying he wasn't the driver but that only amounts to an offence if, firstly the jury believe him and secondly the jury are satisfied that this was a dishonest act to throw them off your scent or that of another.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I thought that if you correct the mistake long before legal proceedings begin you can not be tried for perjury?

How can someone prove that you were thinking to deliberately make a false statement, it seems a very difficult one to convict.

Also are the courts allowed to to amend an indictment? it is being tried at a magistrates court not crown.

Lastly If convicted what sentence would I be likely to receive? I have no previous convictions and no cautions but the sentencing guidelines for perjury seem to be very much at the discretion of the judge

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No, not at all. The issue is the act at the time. The fact that you correct it after goes to mitigation.

What you are thinking of is evidence on oath although that would not stop a charge for perverting the course of justice.

It will come down to whether they believe it could have been an honest mistake.

Yes, the Court are allowed to amend the indictment upon until half time when they need to seek permission.

Its not being tried at the magistrates. This is indictable only. The first appearance is being heard at the magistrates where it will be sent to the crown.

I'm afraid that for perjury and perverting the course of justice you need to brace yourself for a custodial sentence.