Have you been charged for furnishing false or misleading information?
If you have been charged for furnishing false or misleading information under the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic), you need to consult an experienced criminal lawyer, before appearing in Court.
A registrable sex offender who provides false or misleading details when purporting to comply with reporting obligations commits an offence punishable by up to five years imprisonment (s 47(2)), or two years, depending on the nature of the reporting obligation (s 47(3)).
There are two summary offences and one indictable offence under s 47 of the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004. The offences distinguish between the particular reporting obligations for which an offender knowingly provided false or misleading information.
A person commits an indictable offence of failing to comply with reporting obligations under section 47 if:
- The accused was a registrable offender subject to reporting obligations; and
- The accused provided details that they know to be false or misleading in a material particular.
See the below table for a description of the offences for furnishing false or misleading information under 47 of the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004.
|Indictable offence for breaching reporting requirements|
|47(2)||Purporting to comply with reporting obligations, a registrable offender provides details to which specified subsections in s 14 apply, that they know to be false or misleading in a material particular||5 years|
|Summary offences for breaching reporting requirements|
|47(1)||Purporting to comply with reporting obligations (other than details to which section 14 applies), a registrable offender provides details that they know to be false or misleading in a material particular.||2 years|
|47(3)||Purporting to comply with reporting obligations, a registrable offender provides details to which specified subsections in section 14 apply, that they know to be false or misleading in a material particular||2 years|
A person convicted of a ‘registrable offence’ is a ‘registrable offender’, becoming subject to sex offender registration under the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic). Upon registration, sex offenders must comply with various reporting obligations.
The purpose of sex offender registration is to require registrable offenders to keep police informed of their whereabouts and personal details to reduce the likelihood of reoffending, facilitate investigations and prevent offenders from working in child-related employment.
Specified personal details s47(2)
For the purposes of the indictable offence under s 47(2), specified details in s 14 that an offender must report are:
(d) the address of each residence (if any);
(da) telephone (if any);
(db) email address (if any);
(dc) name of any Internet service provider;
(i) Internet user names; or
(ii) instant messaging user names; or
(iii) chat room user names; or
(iv) other user name or identity—
used or intended to be used through the Internet or other electronic communication service;
(e) names of each child with whom he or she has contact;
(ea) in respect of each child with whom he or she has contact—
(i) the child’s age, address and telephone number; or
(ii) if the child’s age, residential address or telephone number is not known to him or her—the location where the contact takes place;
(f) if he or she is employed—
(i) the nature of employment; and
(ii) the name of employer (if any); and
(iii) the address of each of the employment premises or, if he or she is not generally employed at any particular premises, the name of each of the localities in which he or she is generally employed;
(g) details any affiliation with a club or organisation that has child membership or participation in its activities;
(j) whether he or she has ever been found guilty in any foreign jurisdiction of a corresponding registrable offence and, if so, where that finding occurred or that order was made;
(k) if he or she has been in government custody since he or she was sentenced in respect of a registrable offence or corresponding registrable offence, details of when and where that government custody occurred.
Specified personal details s 47(3)
For the purposes of summary offence s 47(3), specified details in s14 a registered offender must report when required are:
(a) name and any other name by which he or she is, or has previously been, known;
(b) in respect of each name other than his or her current name, the period during which he or she was known by that other name;
(c) his or her date of birth;
(h) the make, model, colour and registration number (if any) of any motor vehicle or caravan owned by, or generally driven by, him or her;
(i) details of any tattoos or permanent distinguishing marks that he or she has (including details of any tattoo or mark that has been removed);
(l) if, at the time of making a report under this Division, he or she leaves, or intends to leave, Victoria to travel elsewhere in Australia on an average of at least once a month (irrespective of the length of any such absence)—
(i) in general terms, the reason for travelling; and
(ii) in general terms, the frequency and destinations of the travel;
It is a defence to charges under section 47 if the accused establishes that the information provided was not false or misleading. Depending on the circumstances, there may be other defences available to alleged offending. Consult an experienced sex offence lawyer for advice about whether a defence may be available in your circumstances.
In the Magistrates’ Court, in the 3 years to 30 June 2021, the most common sentence for a charge of ‘furnish false or misleading information as part of ongoing reporting obligations’ under section 47(1) was imprisonment (43.9% of charges). The duration of imprisonment imposed by the Magistrates’ Court during this period was up to 6 months.
What to do if you have been charged
If you have been charged or if the Victoria Police want to interview you in relation to allegedly providing false or misleading information during reporting obligations, call an experienced sex offence lawyer before participating in a record of interview. For more information, see police recorded interviews.
The law is constantly changing, and there have been many amendments to sex offence laws and criminal procedure. A criminal lawyer with specialist experience defending sex offences and related charges is critical to managing your matter effectively to achieve the best outcome for you.