The client was charged with perjury after he swore a police statement that was untrue.
The client was in possession of an illegal handgun and accidentally shot himself. Police and ambulance were called to the scene, where the client told them that he had been shot by an unknown person.
He then signed a sworn statement to this effect, which triggered a large scale police investigation involving helicopters, specialist detectives and the canine unit. Eventually it was revealed that there was no shooter and the client had fabricated the story. He was charged with perjury.
After lengthy negotiations with the Prosecution, a plea deal was struck whereby the client would plead guilty to ‘making a false report to police’ and the Prosecution would withdraw the perjury charge. The client was expected to pay for the costs of the search.
A charge of perjury is a serious indictable matter. Up until a few years ago it could only be heard in the County Court before a Judge. The likely outcome in relation to a perjury charge is a gaol sentence.
The charge of ‘making a false report to Police’ is a less serious summary charge. At sentencing, the client received a $1500 fine without conviction.
This case highlights the importance of effective negotiation. If the prosecution had decided to run the case the client would have been found guilty of perjury, but following negotiations by an experienced lawyer he was able to obtain a far better outcome.