Making false accusations

It is an offence to make false accusations about a person. The offence is punishable by up to 7 years imprisonment pursuant to section 314 Crimes Act 1900, which reads:

person who makes an accusation intending a person to be the subject of an investigation of an offence, knowing that other person to be innocent of the offence, is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

For the accusations to constitute the offence, the person must:

  1. Make an accusation against a person,
  2. Intend that the person be subject to an investigation for an offence, and
  3. Know that the person is innocent of the offence.

The case of Luque v R 2017 NSWCCA 226 is a well-known example of the how the Courts deal with offenders charged with making false accusations. In this case Elizabeth Irene Luque (Luque) a nurse, was facing charges of fraud and dishonesty after stealing a wallet from the lost and found at her job.

In an attempt to get out of the fraud and dishonesty charges, she concocted a story about being tied up and attacked in her western Sydney home and being forced to use the bank cards in the stolen wallets.

The NSW Police believed that they were confronted with the case of a woman who had been the victim of a home invasion that left her physically and sexually brutalised, drugged, and restrained.

As a result, significant resources were expended investigating that claim, including maintaining the integrity of the purported crime scene.

Luque went to the extent of providing the Police with a video walk through of the crime scene, interviewed with journalists, and implicated an innocent man she had met on a website devoted to finding flatmates.

The Police subsequently charged Luque with making a false accusation. The matter went before the District Court and Luque was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment with a non-parole period on 12 months.

Luque appealed her sentence to the Court of Criminal Appeal and was resentenced to 18 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 10 months.

In resentencing Luque the Court afforded her leniency on the basis of her mental condition and other subjective features. Due to her criminal convictions, her nursing registration was also cancelled.

Making false accusations against someone else is a serious offence that can land the accuser behind bars.

Pannu Lawyers extensively practice in Criminal Law and regularly appear at Courts throughout New South Wales. If your matter is at Blacktown Local Court, we are conveniently located within a walking distance from the Blacktown Local Court. Call our office on 02 9920 1787 to discuss your matter in a confidential manner.

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