ARTICLE
28 February 2023

When someone makes false accusations against you

JS
JB Solicitors

Contributor

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In Australia, false accusations are a serious criminal offence that can result in imprisonment and financial punishment.
Australia Criminal Law
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What do you do when someone makes false accusations against you? It's one thing to be falsely accused in your daily life, but it's another when you're falsely accused in legal matters.

False accusations occur when you face allegations against you that are not true. It can be upsetting when you face false allegations, especially when you think the court is likely to believe them.

A lawsuit can lead to having to go to the local court or district court. It also includes costs for attorney fees. It is more alarming when the other party making false accusations has already presented facts and testimonies, gathered witnesses and criminal lawyers, as well as other pieces of evidence.

People make false accusations for various reasons, such as gaining an advantage in family court proceedings. They may also do so out of anger or revenge. Usually, when someone makes false accusations against you in the legal aspect, they can be about things that are not easily defensible such as family violence, abuse, or other violent offences.

When someone makes false accusations against you, it can lead to serious consequences such as litigation. This article will discuss what you can do when someone makes false accusations against you.

What Does the Law Say?

When someone makes false accusations against you, it is very important that you make yourself aware of the law. Know that making a false accusation is a crime in itself. The law imposes harsh penalties upon those who mislead authorities or lie in court.

In Australia, false accusations are a serious offence that can result in imprisonment and financial punishment. Both the Family Law Act 1975 and the Crimes Act 1900 have relevant provisions about false accusations.

Section 117 of the Family Law Act states that a person who makes a false allegation or false statement will pay the other person's legal costs. This provision applies to family law matters.

On the other hand, Section 314 of the Crimes Act defines false allegations and accusations as a crime. It states that people who make an accusation intending a person to be a subject of a police investigation for the offence are liable to a seven-year imprisonment.

A person may face these charges if they made false allegations to the police of domestic violence by their ex-partner. It can also include false stalking or harassment claim. Furthermore, it can include sexual assault allegations in order to get revenge on an ex-partner.

Prosecuting False Complainants

A false accusation is one of the many serious criminal charges with stringent punishments. If you want to file for a false accusation case, you must prove that the other party:

  • Made a false accusation
  • Did so with the intention for the person to be investigated
  • Did so with the knowledge that the accusations were false, and that the person was innocent of the crime alleged against them.

False allegations or accusations can lead to defamation; whether libel (written form of defamation) or slander (oral form of defamation). Defamation cases can occur within family law when a spouse is trying to destroy their ex-spouse's reputation.

Furthermore, perjury cases can arise when lying on the witness stand. 'Perjury' is an offence under Section 327 of the Crimes Act 1900. It has a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment.

Additionally, Section 547B of the Crimes Act 1900 makes it an offence for any person to knowingly make a false complaint to a police officer. The offence is called 'public mischief'. It carries a maximum penalty of 12 months' imprisonment and fine of up to $5,500.

What Should I Do When I Am Facing False Allegations?

Get legal assistance

The natural response when someone makes false accusations against you is to feel a rush of anger and fear. It is advisable to stay calm and get legal assistance.

While the legal system may be confusing for you, lawyers will be able to guide you through the process to ensure the best outcomes for your situation. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights, fight vigorously for your case, establish a defence and protect you from malicious prosecution, and negate the false statements.

Before you think of having an attorney present to plead guilty, know that you can actually work with your lawyer to come up with strategies on how you may be able to prove your innocence.

While false accusations against you can be stressful, your lawyer will be able to develop your case, obtain evidence to prove your innocence, and take care of other legal matters. A lawyer can also help you avoid having charges laid against you, especially when the other side making the accusations is already equipped with compelling evidence, eligible witnesses, or other matters that makes their story worth believing. Experienced lawyers may be able to turn your case around.

Gather evidence

You can assist your lawyer by gathering all text messages, call logs, emails, documents, and affidavits to negate the false accusations made against you.

If there is any other evidence that may support your innocence, collect them as soon as possible and give them to your lawyer. It may be anything from clothes, photographs, or receipts. Collect anything that you think may be able to help you in your defence.

Make sure not to destroy any evidence even though you may think it will not be useful in the long run. Give everything to your lawyer because they will be able to determine its usefulness for possible defences to negate the false accusations.

Gather witnesses

Seek appropriate witnesses. Make a list of potential witnesses who may be able to support your innocence. These are persons who may have more information about the incidents or the matters involved in the false accusations. Provide this list to your lawyer and let your legal representation handle the communications with any potential witnesses you can identify.

Watch your actions and words

Just because the claim is a false accusation, it doesn't mean that you will be found innocent. When someone makes false accusations against you, it is a serious matter. Such that you should not give the accuser, the police, or any other authority any ground to believe that the accusation was indeed true.

While this circumstance can be traumatising and can trigger emotional outbursts or poorly thought-out comments, it is best to let your legal representation be your voice because outbursts will not work in your favour.

It is best that you avoid your accuser both in person and via social media to protect your case so as not to provide your accuser with more grounds on making the false accusation seem true.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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