Have you been charged with Destruction of Evidence?
The Courts consider this a serious charge, which carries a significant maximum penalty. However, there may be some defences available to you that you are unaware of. You will need to speak with an expert in criminal law to determine whether this is the case for you.
Some questions you will need to discuss include: Did you know that a document was or was likely to be required in a legal proceeding? Did you destroy, conceal or render it unusable? Did you authorise someone else to do so? What was your intention in these actions?
Before proceeding further and entering your plea, it is essential that you engage a specialist criminal lawyer.
Please read below for more information in relation to this charge.
Section 254 of the Crimes Act 1958.
The prosecution must prove:
The defendant knew that a document was or was likely to be required in a legal proceeding;
Destroyed, concealed or rendered it incapable of being identified; or
Authorised another person to destroy or conceal the document;
with the intent of preventing the document from being used as evidence in a legal proceeding.
The maximum penalty
Level 6 imprisonment being a maximum of 5 years.
Where will my case be heard?
Destruction of Evidence cases can will usually be heard in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria depending on what is alleged to have been destroyed.
Questions to consider
Do you have a defence?
If you are pleading guilty, what can you do to minimise your sentence?
What to do next?
Obtain legal advice as soon as possible. Remember that thorough preparation is critical to successful court outcomes. See an experienced criminal lawyer urgently.
If you have been charged with Destruction of Evidence make an appointment to see one of our experienced lawyers today.
254 Destruction of evidence
(1) A person who—
(a) knows that a document or other thing of any kind is, or is reasonably likely to be, required in evidence in a legal proceeding; and
(i) destroys or conceals it or renders it illegible, undecipherable or incapable of identification; or
(ii) expressly, tacitly or impliedly authorises or permits another person to destroy or conceal it or render it illegible, undecipherable or incapable of identification and that other person does so; and
(c) acts as described in paragraph (b) with the intention of preventing it from being used in evidence in a legal proceeding—
is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum) or a level 6 fine or both.
1 Document is defined in the Evidence Act 2008.
2 The maximum fine that may be imposed on a body corporate found guilty of an offence against this section is 3000 penalty units: see Sentencing Act 1991 s. 113D.
(2) This section applies with respect to a legal proceeding, whether the proceeding is one that is in progress or is to be, or may be, commenced in the future.