7.8.3.1 - Charge: Perverting the course of justice

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When to use this charge

This charge should only be used for the offence of perverting the course of justice.

For the offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice see charges:

I must now direct you about the offence of perverting the course of justice. To convict the accused of this offence, the prosecution must prove the following 2 elements beyond reasonable doubt:

One – the accused engaged in conduct that perverted the course of justice.

Two – the accused intended for that conduct to pervert the course of justice.

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

Perversion of the course of justice

The first element requires you to be satisfied the accused engaged in conduct that perverted the course of justice.

The ‘course of justice’ is the administration of the law by a court. Perversion of the course of justice means NOA’s conduct interfered with the administration of justice by a court.

The prosecution say [describe NOA’s alleged conduct] interfered with the administration of justice because [describe how NOA’s conduct is alleged to have interfered with the administration of justice].

[If the defence dispute that the accused engaged in the alleged conduct, add the following shaded section]

The defence argue the prosecution has not proved, beyond reasonable doubt, that NOA [describe alleged conduct].

[Refer to competing prosecution and defence evidence and arguments].

[If the defence dispute that the conduct perverted the course of justice, add the following shaded section]

The defence argues NOA’s conduct did not interfere with the administration of justice because [refer to relevant defence and prosecution evidence and arguments].

If you are satisfied NOA [describe conduct and how it is alleged to have interfered with the administration of justice], the first element of this offence be met.

Intention to pervert the course of justice

The second element the prosecution must prove is at the time the accused engaged in the relevant conduct, s/he intended to pervert the course of justice.

In this case, the prosecution argues when NOA [describe alleged conduct], s/he intended that [describe basis for alleged perversion of the course of justice].[1]

I direct you as a matter of law, this element does not require the prosecution to prove NOA realised or understood the conduct would result in a perversion of the course of justice.

[Summarise relevant prosecution and defence evidence and arguments]

If you are satisfied, at the time the NOA [describe alleged conduct], s/he intended to pervert the course of justice in [describe relevant proceeding], then this element will be met.

Summary

To summarise, before you can find NOA guilty of perverting the course of justice the prosecution must prove to you beyond reasonable doubt:

One – NOA engaged in conduct that perverted the course of justice; and

Two – NOA intended to pervert the course of justice.

If you find that either of these elements have not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, then you must find NOA not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Last Updated: 27 April 2016

Notes

[1] For example, when NOA threatened NOW to alter NOW's evidence, NOA intended that NOW would give false evidence to the court in favour of NOA's innocence.

See Also

7.8.3 - Perverting and attempting to pervert the course of justice

7.8.3.2 – Checklist: Perverting the course of justice

7.8.3.3 - Charge: Attempting to pervert the course of justice (Course of justice commenced)

7.8.3.4 – Checklist: Attempting to pervert the course of justice (Course of justice commenced)

7.8.3.5 - Charge: Attempting to pervert the course of justice (No course of justice commenced)

7.8.3.6 – Checklist: Attempting to pervert the course of justice (No course of justice commenced)