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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5422
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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Hi, I wanted to ask what happens if you give a false witness

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I wanted to ask what happens if you give a false witness statement to police after an accident involving a pedestrian suffering a broken arm and stitches?

What happens for example if the driver hit the pedestrian accidentally whilst trying to avoid an accident, stopped to help and call the ambulance, but through fear of first offence and monetary consequences, chooses to lie to police about being the one who hit the pedestrian?

Hello and thank you for your question.

A person who gives the police a false statement commits an offence under the Crimes Act section 315:

The penalty can be very serious if caught, though it is charges may not be brought if the false statement is withdrawn and corrected in a timely fashion.

Be aware also that if the statement is not withdrawn, the police may call the person as a witness and if they again give a false statement before the court they will also be guilty of perjury which is an even more serious offence:

Finally, in relation to the drivers concerns as to financial consequences, provided the driver is covered by compulsory third party insurance it is the insurer who would normally bear the cost of any compensation claim to the injured pedestrian and so the only real concern they might have is a negligent driving charge, but even that may be defensible if, as you say, they were trying to avoid another hazard.

I would strongly recommend that the driver see a lawyer ASAP with a view to preparing to go the police and correct their statement. Because a person was injured the circumstances of the accident will likely be investigated quite thoroughly and with all the cctv cameras around, as well as the risk of other witnesses implicating the actual car involved, there is a very great likelihood that any false statement will be uncovered. If that happens before the driver corrects his statement he is much more likely to be charged and punished quite harshly than if he comes forward and admits he panicked.

I trust the above assists.

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Thank you and good luck.

Patrick H. and other Australia Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

As the accident occurred within the last 8 hrs and it has been 6hrs since the statement was given, was is a reasonable time frame for the false statement to be withdrawn and corrected? Thanks.

Hours is definitely better than days.

There are no guarantees the police won't press charges for the original false statement, but it is much less likely and even if charged, the court would likely treat it as a much less serious offence if you act quickly.

I trust this assists and I wish you luck.

Patrick H. and other Australia Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry, one more question in regards XXXXX XXXXX accident.

Given that the driver takes the actions you have advised in withdrawing the false statement and correcting with statement admitting to hitting the pedestrian. What is estimation of the likely penalties / charges / punishments given that everything else was done in good faith?

Unfortunately, I can't answer that question because it will depend on more factors than I can deal with through a service such as this, such as:

- the extent to which the false statement has caused the police problems, or wasted their resources (e.g. there may be a police search presently underway for a hit run driver for example);
- the seriousness of the injuries to the accident victim;
- what was actually said in the false statement;
- various background issues such as whether the driver has a clean record or not.

Exploring all these issues in detail is beyond the scope of this service. Only a fully briefed lawyer can go through all those issues.

Good luck.

Patrick H. and other Australia Law Specialists are ready to help you