What is Attempting to Pervert Justice?

Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice in Queensland is an offence where a person tries to stop justice from being served on themselves or another person by their actions.  It can include a person doing things such as telling a complainant to withdraw charges against them, asking someone to provide a fake alibi, asking a medical practitioner to give you a fake medical certificate etc  

The Law:

Section 140 of the Criminal Code (Qld) 1899 states; 

(1) A person who attempts to obstruct, prevent, pervert, or defeat the course of justice is guilty of a crime. 

Elements of the Offence:

It is the duty of the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant has committed the offence.  Every charge has a number of elements that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  For the charge of Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice the Prosecution must prove; 

  1. Defendant The Prosecutor has to prove the identification of the offender; 
  2. The defendant did an act intentionally  
  3. The act was intended to pervert justice  
  4. That justice was or was attempted to be perverted  

Maximum Penalty for Attempting to Pervert Justice:

The maximum penalty for this offence is seven years imprisonment.


In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Attempting to Pervert Justice, then the court could impose one of the following penalties: 

  • Jail (suspended, parole or actual time); 
  • Intensive Corrections Order; 
  • Probation; 
  • Community Service Order; 

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant.

Possible Defences for Attempting To Pervert Justice:

There are a number of defences available to charges at law.  Not every defence is available to every charge.  You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge.  Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are; 

  • Necessity; 
  • Mistake of Fact; 
  • Public Safety; 
  • Self Defence or defence of another person; 
  • Intoxication; 
  • Provocation; 
  • Accident; 
  • Duress; 
  • Compulsion; 
  • Insanity; 
  • Automatism 

Which Court will your matter be heard in?

In that event a committal hearing will have to be conducted and then the matter will proceed to the District Court. If you enter a plea of guilty then the charge will be determined by a Judge. If you enter a plea of Not Guilty then the trial will be before a Judge and Jury. If you are found guilty then you will be sentenced by the Judge.

What should I do if the police want to speak to me about an Attempting to Pervert Justice allegation or if I am charged with Attempting to Pervert Justice?

You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer. 

Call an Expert 

If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over the phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court. Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.

Brooke Winter Solicitors
Brooke Winter Solicitor

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