What is Perverting the Course of Justice in NSW?

By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

 

One of Sydney’s high-ranking members of the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang has been charged by police over allegations he attempted to pervert the course of justice while before the courts.

According to NSW Police, the case goes back to December 2018 during which an ongoing investigation by Strike Force Raptor was taking place.

At the time, officers from the Criminal Groups Squad’s Strike Force Raptor had arrested a 38-year-old man at a home in Mortlake.

The bikie was charged with stealing and driving-related offences, following which he appeared before the courts.

However, further investigations by Strike Force Raptor detectives led to revelations the man had allegedly put forward false information on documents provided to the court.

This took place in court appearances both in January and May 2019.

 

Man Rearrested for Act Intending to Pervert Course of Justice

On 3 April 2020, the leading bikie, now aged 39, was rearrested by officers and charged with two counts of carrying out an act intending to pervert the course of justice.

Nevertheless, after a series of further inquiries, on 8 April, Strike Force Raptor detectives then charged the man with two additional offences of intending to pervert the course of justice, along with one offence of wilfully swear falsely in any affidavit.

It is alleged the man provided false information in an affidavit.

The man was remanded in custody until he faced court the following month.

 

What is Strike Force Raptor?

Strike Force Raptor is a proactive, high-impact operation that was established in 2009 to target outlaw motorcycle gang activity and any associated criminal enterprises.

The operation conducts intelligence-based procedures to precent and disrupt conflicts, while dismantling any network engaged in serious organised criminal activity.

For over 10 years, Strike Force Raptor has crushed Sydney’s outlaw motorcycle gangs and instilled fear into organised crime groups.

More recently, to allow police to respond more readily than ever to statements of outlaw motorcycle gang violence and organised crime, the State Crime Command’s Gangs Squad has launched an online facility that allows people to report such activity directly to Strike Force Raptor investigators.

Strike Force Raptor investigators believe this newfound “direct-to-detectives” capability around reporting will maximise opportunities for members of the public to work in real time with police to slash crime and violence related to outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Members of the public nevertheless are still encouraged to report outlaw motorcycle gang activities direct to police or via Crime Stoppers.

Police are also assuring the public that while victims may fear reporting such matters, particularly in light of the clear “code of silence” associated with outlaw motorcycle gang crime, as victims may fear reporting matters to police, all accounts are dealt with in strict confidence.

What is Perverting the Course of Justice?

Under NSW law, perverting the course of justice is any act or omission which is intended to obstruct, prevent, pervert, or defeat the course of justice or the administration of the law.

This is made clear in section 319 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

The offence is taken very seriously and this reflects that object of legal systems, which is to be just and fair.

As such, any effort to interfere with the criminal justice system or deceive authorities impedes this and is deemed an attack on the justice system.

Examples of occurrences that constitute perverting the course of justice can include encouraging someone to plead guilty to an offence which they did not commit or bribing a police officer.

Other examples can include asking a medical practitioner to provide an dishonest medical certificate in order to adjourn a court hearing or asking a person to provide a false alibi.

This offence attracts up to 14-years jail.

Accordingly, it should also be noted that even by simply attempting to pervert the course of justice can leave you guilty of an offence of perverting the course of justice.

Do you have a legal question on this topic? Speak to our leading criminal lawyers in Parramatta today.

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