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7.5.14.4 - Charge: Use False Document

Click here to obtain a Word version of this document for adaptation.

 

This charge should be used when the accused is charged with using a false document under Crimes Act 1958 s83A(2).

The charge may be adapted if the accused is charged with using a copy of a false document under Crimes Act 1958 s83A(4).

If the accused is charged with making a false document, or using a copy of a false document, see Charge: Make False Document.

 

The Elements

I must now direct you about the crime of using a false document. To prove this crime, the prosecution must prove the following 5 elements beyond reasonable doubt:

One – That the accused used a document;

Two – That the document the accused used was false;

Three – That the accused knew that s/he was using a false document;

Four – That the accused used the document with the intention of deceiving a person to accept that it was genuine;

Five – That the accused intended that, as a result of accepting the document as genuine, that person would act in a way that prejudices somebody. [1]

I will now explain each of these elements in more detail. [2]

The Accused Used a Document

The first element that the prosecution must prove is that the accused used a document.

In this case it is alleged that the accused used [identify document] by [identify alleged use]. I direct you as a matter of law that [describe document, e.g., "a photograph"] is a document. [3] This element will therefore be satisfied if you find that [summarise necessary findings].

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments.]

The Document was False

The second element that the prosecution must prove is that the document NOA used was false.

The law says that a document is not "false" merely because it contains untrue or incorrect information. To be "false" for the purposes of this offence, the document must purport to have been:

[Select the relevant form[s] of falsity from the list below. Only include types of falsity that are relevant to the circumstances of the case:

The word "purports" means "pretends". So what the prosecution must prove is that the document pretends to be something that it is not. In this case, the prosecution argued that [describe relevant document] is "false" because it pretends [describe relevant form of falsity in terms of the facts of the case, e.g. "to have been made by John Smith"] when in fact [describe true state of affairs, e.g. "it was made by the accused"].

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments.]

The Accused Knew the Document was False

The third element that the prosecution must prove is that, when the accused used the [identify document], s/he knew that s/he was using a false document.

For this element to be met, it is not enough for the prosecution to prove that NOA should have known that s/he was using a false document. They must prove that NOA was aware that the document s/he was using was false.

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments.]

Intention that the Document be Accepted as Genuine

The fourth element that the prosecution must prove the accused used the document intending to deceive someone to accept that it was genuine.

[If the accused intended to induce a machine to accept it as genuine, add the following shaded section]

The law says that this includes intending to cause a machine to accept the document as genuine.

[If it is not alleged that accused intended to induce a particular person, add the following shaded section]

The prosecution does not need to prove that the accused intended that any particular person would be persuaded to accept the document as genuine. The intention may be directed generally, at prospective victims of his or her plan.

In this case it is alleged that NOA used the [identify document] with the intention of persuading [identify intended victim or class of victims] that it was genuine.

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments.]

Intention that the Victim Act to Somebody’s Prejudice

The fifth element also focuses on the accused’s intention. The prosecution must prove that s/he intended that [describe intended victim or class of victim of the deception] would, as a result of accepting the document as genuine, act to somebody’s prejudice. [4]

The term "prejudice" has a technical legal meaning. An act will prejudice someone if it will:

[Select and explain the relevant form[s] of prejudice from the list below. Only include types of prejudice that are relevant to the circumstances of the case:

The person the accused intended would be prejudiced may be the same person s/he intended would be deceived to accept the document as genuine, or may be someone else.

[If it is possible that the accused would be prejudiced, add the following shaded section]

However, it is not sufficient for you to find that the accused intended that s/he would be prejudiced him/herself. S/he must have intended that another person would be prejudiced.

[If the accused intended to cause a machine to respond to a document, add the following shaded section]

The law says that this element will be satisfied if the accused intended to cause a machine to respond in a manner which, if a person did so, would be to that person’s prejudice.

[If it is not alleged that accused intended that a particular person would be prejudiced, add the following shaded section]

The prosecution does not need to prove that the accused intended that any particular person would be prejudiced. The intention may be directed generally, at prospective victims of his or her plan.

For this element to be satisfied, it is not sufficient for the accused to have intended that someone would act in a way that may cause prejudice. The accused must intend that someone would act in a way that must result in prejudice.

However, that does not mean that you must find that someone actually was prejudiced as a result of accepting the document as genuine. The focus here is on the accused’s intention at the time s/he used the document. If s/he intended that, due to accepting the document as genuine, a person would act in a way that would prejudice somebody, this element will be met regardless of whether that in fact happened.

In this case, it is alleged that NOA intended that, as a result of accepting that [identify document] was genuine, [identify intended victim] would act in a way that would prejudice [him/herself / NO3P], because it would result in [explain nature of prejudice].

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments.]

Summary

To summarise, before you can find NOA guilty of using a false document the prosecution must prove to you beyond reasonable doubt:

One – That NOA used a document;

Two – That the document NOA used was false;

Three – That NOA knew that s/he was using a false document;

Four – That NOA intended to use the document to deceive [identify intended victim] to accept that the document was genuine; and

Five – That NOA intended that, as a result of accepting the document as genuine, [identify intended victim] would act in a way that would prejudice [identify intended target].

If you find that any of these elements have not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, then you must find NOA not guilty of using a false document.

 

Notes

[1] Where the prosecution alleges that the accused intended to cause prejudice by failing to act, the description (and discussion) of this element should be modified.

[2] If an element is not in issue it should not be explained in full. Instead, the element should be described briefly, followed by an instruction such as: "It is [admitted / not disputed] that NOA [describe conduct, state of mind or circumstances that meets the element], and you should have no difficulty finding this element proven."

[3] This charge is based on the assumption that it is clear that the relevant item is a "document". It should be adapted if that matter is in dispute. See the Making or Using a False Document for guidance on the meaning of the term "document".

[4] Where the accused intends that the victim of the deception would act to his or her own prejudice, the judge may tell the jury that "the accused intended that, due to accepting the document as genuine, a person would act to his/her prejudice.

 

Last updated: 3 December 2012

See Also

7.5.14 - Making or Using a False Document

7.5.14.1 - Charge: Make False Document

7.5.14.2 - Checklist: Make False Original Document

7.5.14.3 - Checklist: Make False Copy Document

7.5.14.5 - Checklist: Use False Original Document

7.5.14.6 - Checklist: Use False Copy Document