Victorian Parliament Law Reform CommitteeFunctionsThe functions of the Committee, as defined by Section 12 of the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003, are: 1) To inquire into, consider and report to the Parliament on any proposal, matter or thing concerned with -a. Legal, constitutional or parliamentary reform; b. The administration of justice; c. Law reform. 2) It is not a function of the Law Reform Committee to inquire into, consider or report to the Parliament on any proposal, matter of thing concerned with. The joint standing orders of the Parliament; b.

The standing orders or rules of practice of the Council or of the Assembly. Inquiry into Administration of Justice Offences Terms of Reference Law Reform Committee of Parliament is required To inquire into, consider and report to Parliament on: 1. The current state of law in Victoria in relation to administration of justice offences (such as perjury, perverting the course of justice, falsifying evidence and threatening witnesses); and 2. Whether these laws should be amended, and in what way, having particular regard to interstate laws and the recommendations of the Model Criminal Code Officers Committee Discussion Paper on Administration of Justice Offences (July 1997).

PARLIAMENT OF VICTORIA LAW REFORM COMMITTEE Inquiry into Administration of Justice Offences The Governor in Council has asked that the Law Reform Committee inquire into, consider and report to Parliament on: 1. The current state of law in Victoria in relation to administration of justice offences (such as perjury, perverting the course of justice, falsifying evidence and threatening witnesses); and 2. Whether these laws should be amended, and in what way, having particular regard to interstate laws and the recommendations of the Model Criminal Code Officers Committee Discussion Paper on Administration of Justice Offences (July 1997). A copy of the Committee's terms of reference and a copy of a Discussion Paper prepared by the Committee can be obtained by telephoning (03) 9651 3644 or from the Committee's website, web Committee invites written submissions from individuals and organisations on any aspect of this reference.

Submissions should be sent to the address below by 31 October 2003. All submissions are treated as public documents unless confidentiality is requested. Executive Officer Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee Level 8, 35 Spring Street MELBOURNE VIC 3000 Mr Rob Hudson, MP Chair Recommendation 1 p. 55 MCCOC Model Code That a new statutory provision be created for perverting the course of justice that incorporates the common law elements of the offence so that the new provision would make it an offence to "do an act that is capable of and has a tendency to pervert the course of justice." That the provision define the meaning of " tendency" as meaning "a possibility or risk that the course of justice will be perverted." MCCOC recommended that a general offence of perverting the course of justice be created, however the Committee has not recommended the same wording as the MCCOC provision. Discussion Paper p. 93.

Model Code Section 74. 1. Recommendation 2 p. 61 MCCOC Model Code That the proposed new statutory offence of perverting the course of justice specify intention as the mental element of the offence.

The Model Code provision is similar. Discussion Paper p. 88. Model Code Section 74. 1. Recommendation 3 p.

74 MCCOC Model Code That the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) be amended to change the maximum penalty for the offence of perverting the course of justice to 15 years imprisonment. MCCOC recommended in its final report that the maximum sentence should be 5 years imprisonment. Discussion Paper p. 88 Model Code Section 74. 1.

xiv Recommendation 4 p. 94 MCCOC Model Code That there be no change to the current law in Victoria concerning false accusation of offences. This is contrary to the MCCOC recommendation that a separate offence for 'false accusation of offence' be created. Discussion Paper p. 107. Model Code Section 74.

3 Specific Offences relating to evidence and witnesses Recommendation 5 p. 111 MCCOC Model Code That statutory offences be created in Victoria for the misuse of evidence, making it an offence to: (a) fabricate or alter evidence; (b) destroy, conceal or suppress evidence; and (c) knowingly use fabricated or altered evidence. Where the intention is to: (a) prevent the bringing of judicial proceedings; or (b) influence the outcome of current or future judicial proceedings; or (c) improperly use the judicial proceedings for the purpose of impugning or vilifying the accused person or other witnesses. That the maximum sentence for this offence be 7 years imprisonment.

The MCCOC provision is similar to the Committee's recommendation however the Committee has not adopted the same wording. For example, the model provision refers to " making or using false evidence " whereas the Committee recommends "fabricate or alter." Discussion Paper p. 61. Model Code Section 72. 1. + 72.

2 xv Recommendation 6 p. 114 MCCOC Model Code That a specific statutory offence of deceiving witnesses be created in Victoria, making it an offence to deceive another person with the intention that the other person or a third person will: (a) give false evidence at legal proceedings; or (b) withhold true evidence at legal proceedings. That the maximum sentence for this offence be 5 years imprisonment. The Committee has endorsed theMCCOC model provision.

Discussion Paper p. 71. Model Code Section 73. 1 Recommendation 7 p. 117 MCCOC Model Code That a specific statutory offence of corruption of a witness be created in Victoria, making it an offence to: provide, or offer or promise to provide, a benefit to another person with the intention that the other person or a third person will: (a) not attend as a witness at legal proceedings; or (b) give false evidence at legal proceedings; or (c) withhold true evidence at legal proceedings. That the provision also makes it an offence to ask for, or receive or agree to receive, a benefit for themselves or another person with the intention that they or another person will: (a) not attend as a witness at legal proceedings; or (b) give false evidence at legal proceedings; or (c) withhold true evidence at legal proceedings.

That the maximum penalty for this offence be 7 years imprisonment. The Committee has endorsed theMCCOC model provision. Discussion Paper p. 73 Model Code Section 73.

2 xvi Recommendation 8 p. 120 MCCOC Model Code That a specific statutory offence of threatening a witness be created in Victoria, making it an offence to cause or threaten to cause any detriment to a person (who intends to attend as a witness at proceedings) with the intention that the person or another will: (a) not attend as a witness at legal proceedings; or (b) give false evidence at the legal proceedings; or (c) withhold truthful evidence at the legal proceedings. That "threat" be defined to include a threat made by any conduct whether explicit or implicit and whether conditional or unconditional. That the maximum penalty for this offence be 5 years imprisonment.

The Committee has endorsed theMCCOC provision with modification-with definitions of "threat" and "witness." Discussion Paper p. 75. Final Report p. 95. Model Code Section 73. 3 Recommendation 9 p.

123 MCCOC Model Code That a specific statutory offence of preventing a witness from attending legal proceedings be created in Victoria, making it an offence to intentionally prevent (by conduct) a person from attending as a witness at legal proceedings. That the maximum sentence for this offence be 5 years imprisonment. The Committee has endorsed theMCCOC provision with modification - the Committee suggests that the definition of witness should include persons who have not been summoned. Discussion Paper p. 77. Model Code Section 73.

4. xvii Recommendation 10 p. 125 MCCOC Model Code That a specific statutory offence of preventing a witness from producing an item in evidence be created in Victoria, making it an offence to intentionally prevent a witness from producing an item in evidence where the item is required to be produced by subpoena or summons. That the maximum sentence for this offence be 5 years imprisonment.

The Committee has endorsed theMCCOC provision with modification. Discussion Paper p. 79. Model Code Section 73. 5. Recommendation 11 p.

144 MCCOC Model Code That an offence relating to reprisals against witnesses and other participants in legal proceedings be enacted in Victoria making it an offence for a person without reasonable cause to procure or cause violence, injury, damage or loss to any person with the intent to punish a participant in a legal proceeding (other than a party to civil proceedings) for anything said or done in the course of, or in relation to the legal proceeding. That the maximum sentence for this offence be 5 years imprisonment. The Committee has endorsed theMCCOC provision with modification. The Committee does not recommend the " perjury defence" but does recommend a "reasonable cause " defence....