Victorian Police Officer sentenced to Community Corrections Order for falsifying documents

community correction order for falsifying documents

A Victorian detective has lost his job and has been convicted by a Melbourne Court for trying to shut down three assault investigations because he deemed the victims to be untruthful, uncooperative, or untrustworthy.

Detective Senior Constable Samuel Miller was sentenced to a Community Corrections Order after pretending to be the victims in his investigations and faking statements of no complaint. The Detective forged the statements to lighten the workload at his Police Unit. He was convicted and sentenced to 18 months Community Corrections Order which includes 100 hours of community service. During his sentencing, Judge Coish told disgraced detective “you have effectively set yourself up as investigator, judge and jury”.

Police have a fundamental obligation not to breach the public’s trust, but what about citizens? Is providing false statements to the Police a crime? Is there an expectation that citizens will not mislead the Police or the Courts?

Perverting the course of justice is an offence pursuant to section 319 Crimes Act 1900, which states

person who does any act, or makes any omission, intending in any way to pervert the course of justice, is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

The offence can be proved if:

  • A person does an act or omission
  • With intent in any way to pervert the course of justice.

The act/omission must prevent justice from being served on themselves or any other party. These acts or omissions can include:

  • providing false information to the Police,
  • omitting information from the Police, or
  • concealing or destroying evidence.

Case studies

R v Pearce [2020] NSWCCA 61

Mr Pearce’s offence was the provision of a voluntary statement to Police with a view to providing a false defence to his friend, who had been accused of aggravated sexual assault. Mr Pearce was charged with and he pled guilty to the general offence of perverting the course of justice pursuant to section 319 Crimes Act 1900. Mr Pearce was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment to be served via an Intensive Corrections Order with 100 hours of community service. In sentencing the accused the Court noted that Mr Pearce had an unusually powerful subjective case due to his otherwise good character and his substantial contributions to the community. This was the basis for the Intensive Corrections Order rather than full time imprisonment. The Court noted that but for the subjective circumstances of Mr Pearce, he would have been sent to prison.

Bikie charged with perverting course of justice

A high-ranking member of the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang has been charged with allegedly perverting the course of justice during an ongoing investigation by the Strike Force Raptor, a Police operation aiming to break up networks engaged in organised crime.

In December 2018, the Comanchero member was arrested with stealing and drink-driving offences and appeared before the Courts. However, further investigations revealed that the man allegedly provided false information on documents which were provided to the Court.

On 3 April 2020, Police officers rearrested the man, charging him with two counts of acts intending to pervert the course of justice. Further investigations led to the man being charged with an additional two offences for doing acts intending to pervert the course of justice and wilfully swear falsely in any affidavit on 8 April 2020. It will be alleged in Court that the man provided false information on an affidavit.

Providing false and misleading statements with intent to pervert course of justice is a serious offence with the Courts not shying away from handing down sentences of imprisonment.

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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