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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
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Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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Witness liability. What is the liability of the witness on

Customer Question

Witness liability.
What is the liability of the witness on the bank document e.g. property loan, done by the married couple, and one of the signatures was fake. In general can witness to any bank documents can be criminally liable or only exposed to the civil Penalty.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

If the witness deliberately signs a document bearing witness to another person signing, when he/she knows they did not, he may be liable himself for fraud, which is a serious criminal offence punishable by a maximum term of up to 10 years:

Civil liability to compensate the bank may also attach such conduct.

Criminal liability would not attach, however, if the witness was merely mistaken in acting as a witness, such as might be the case where an imposter signed in front of the witness without the witness being aware that they were not the proper person to be signing the document.

I trust the above assists your understanding.

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