Last week we looked at obstructing a police officer, which my friend and also ex-cop, Ian said, just don’t do because it’s not good for you.
Today we are going to look at other offences that would put you up against a police officer and their investigation and ones that I do see in crime novels. These are classed as offences against the administration of justice and oooh, they are frowned upon. So much more than the original offence because those dealing with justice are very serious about the whole scales thing and if you try to mess with it, boy you’re not going to be popular.
If any person lawfully sworn in as a witness or as an interpreter in a judicial proceedings wilfully makes a statement material in that proceeding, which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true, he shall be guilty of perjury…
To prove perjury you must prove that the person knew the statement to be false or did not believe it to be true.
Perverting the course of justice
It is an offence at common law to do an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice.
The course of public justice included the initial criminal investigation.
Perverting the course of justice requires positive action be taken not just standing by and allowing an injustice. So, deliberately destroying or concealing evidence and intimidating witnesses and jurors. Also admitting to a crime to prevent the apprehension of the real offender and making a false allegation of a crime when one has not occurred.
As with the offence of murder, intention needs to be proved.
Where a person has committed a relevant offence, any person who, knowing or believing him to be guilty of the offence or some other relevant offence, does without lawful authority or reasonable excuse any act with intent to impede his apprehension or prosecution shall be guilty of an offence.
There needs to be a positive act. Omission is not enough.
Concealing relevant offences
Where a person has committed a relevant offence, any other person who, knowing or believing that the offence or some other relevant offence has been committed, and that he has information which might be of material assistance in securing the prosecution or conviction of an offender for it, accepts or agrees to accept for not disclosing that information any consideration other than the making good of loss or injury caused by the offence, or the making of reasonable compensation for that loss or injury, shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for not more that two years.
You can find all other posts in this series HERE.
Rebecca Bradley is a retired UK police detective with over 15 years UK policing experience. Seven of those years were in uniform and the rest in a specialist investigative department where She handled multiple, serious and complex investigations. She is now a crime writer and offers a police procedural fact-checking service, available to all crime writers setting their work in England or Wales.
Please see THIS POST for further details.
Join my Writing Crime group. If you sign up to the group you will receive a police MG11 statement (a genuine statement paper – I found online) which I have written a statement on, using an incident that occurs at the end of my novella, Three Weeks Dead. So, it’s a genuine statement, authentically written by an ex-detective.
What else will you receive in this group?
Every month I will send you, either;
- Another document I have completed.
- A link to an online document I know will help you.
- Another police document that forms part of a police investigation.
All of these can be printed out and kept in a folder and your folder will grow with policing information that you, as writers, can use, or ignore, as you wish. It is fiction, but having the information means you can make an informed decision.
If you want to be a part of this group and to claim your first item (the completed statement) then go HERE.
Margot Kinberg says
As always, this is really interesting, Rebecca. I can see how it’s taken so very, very seriously if one is believed to have obstructed justice, perjured, and so on. It really is a very serious matter. Thanks for sharing all of this.
Rebecca Bradley says
Yes, the courts really don’t like it. It’s often taken much more seriously than the original offence.
Wade Brown says
Thanks, Rebecca! This is my favourite website by miles: concise, informative and readable as ever. Having read many books on the subject (including the 2007 Murder Manual) I much prefer to get my information from your site. You really are the crime writers’ best friend! 🙂
Rebecca Bradley says
I’m so glad you like the posts, Wade!