Tampering with Evidence Offences and Laws in New South Wales

The 24-year-old police officer son of former senator Kristina Keneally has pled not guilty to charges detailing that he fabricated evidence, leading to a man being remanded into custody for three weeks.

The prosecution will allege that Daniel John Keneally falsely accused 34-year-old Luke Moore of threatening to kill a police officer during a phone call to Newtown police station in February 2021.

Moore was remanded in a maximum-security correctional centre for weeks, after Constable Keneally provided details of the complaint and he was charged by the Fixated Persons Unit.

Keneally claimed in the intelligence report that Moore stated he wanted certain officers ‘gone’ and ‘off this planet’ and when questioned what this meant, he replied: “Good as gone. Dead.”

He was refused bail, after being charged with using a carriage service to threaten to kill and two counts of using a carriage service to menace, harass, or offend.

However, Moore had secretly taped the conversation, and was able to provide it to the prosecution who withdrew the charges after confirming that the call contained no death threats.

Whilst he had called the station to discuss the use of strip search powers with an officer, it was deemed that he did not threaten the lives of then NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and Goulburn police officer Ed Taylor, as alleged.

Moore has revealed that officers would have had access to the actual recording of the call within days of him being charged, however, the charges were only dropped when the matter was taken over by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

He was awarded costs of $10,000 by the Local Court Magistrate, upon the withdrawal of the charges.

Moore complained to the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission about Keneally’s conduct, who then recommended that consideration be given to obtaining advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the Keneally’s prosecution.

In separate civil proceedings, Moore was offered a $170,000 settlement and was provided a formal apology on behalf of the State of NSW.

The apology detailed that: “the State accepts SC [sic] Keneally Was in error when he said that you wanted another officer ‘Dead’. The State regrets what was said.”

“The State also regrets not having investigated your assertions that you had not threatened the life of another Police officer more expeditiously and acknowledges that more timely investigations would have discovered the audio recording you made contradicted SC Keneally’s assertions.” it continued.

He ultimately rejected the monetary offer, insisting that he would be seeking $800,000 in compensation.

An internal inquiry conducted by the local police command ultimately found that Keneally had not acted with due care and diligence.

As he has not pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charge, the brief of evidence will be served on the defence by 15 December 202, with the matter to return to court on 15 January 2023.

NSW Police have confirmed his employment status is under review.

Here is more on the law on perverting the course of justice in NSW.


Tampering with Evidence Offences and Laws in New South Wales

In NSW, as outlined in section 317 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) it is an offence to, with intent to mislead any judicial tribunal in any judicial proceeding:

  • suppress, conceal, destroy, alter, or falsify anything knowing that it is or may be required as evidence in any judicial proceeding,
  • fabricate false evidence (other than by perjury), or
  • knowingly make use of fabricated false evidence.

Evidence is construed broadly and will include physical items, images, and statements provided to the police or made by officers themselves.

A maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment is prescribed for the offence of tampering with evidence in NSW. This maximum penalty only applies if the matter is dealt with in the District Court instead of the Local Court of NSW.

If dealt with in the NSW Local Court, its jurisdiction is limited. The maximum penalty the Local Court can Impose is a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine.

About Poppy Morandin

Poppy Morandin is the managing law clerk and an integral part of the team of criminal lawyers at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia . She's also a part of CDLA's content article production team. Poppy is passionate about law reform and criminal justice.

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