The Criminal Justice (Perjury and Related Offences) Act 2021 reformed the law of perjury and related offences.
A person commits an offence referred to as perjury if he or she, in, or for the purpose of, a judicial or other proceeding, gives a statement material in the proceeding—
- while lawfully sworn as a witness or as an interpreter,
- on affidavit, or
- in a statement of truth made in place of an affidavit,
that is false, and he or she knows to be false.
Where such a statement is made by a person
- within the State for the purposes of a proceeding outside the State and such proceeding corresponds to a judicial or other proceeding in the State, or
- outside the State for the purposes of a judicial or other proceeding within the State,
the statement is be treated as a statement made in such a manner in, or for the purpose of, a judicial or other proceeding in the State.
Where proceedings are brought against a person for the alleged commission of perjury, the question as to whether a statement given by the person was material in a judicial or other proceeding is a question of law to be determined by the court of trial in the proceedings for perjury.
Subornation of Perjury
A person commits an offence referred to as subornation of perjury if he or she procures, persuades, induces or otherwise causes another person to commit perjury, knowing or being reckless as to whether the other person is committing such offence.
It is immaterial whether or not the other person referred to in that subsection has been convicted of the perjury to which the alleged subornation of perjury relates. Where proceedings are brought against a person for the alleged commission of subornation of perjury, the question as to whether a statement given by the other person was material in a judicial or other proceeding is a question of law to be determined by the court of trial in the proceedings for subornation of perjury.
Where, a person commits an offence referred to as perjury, howsoever described, in other older legislation he or she shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished as if he or she were guilty of perjury under the 2021 Act. A reference in such older legilsaiton to perjury or to subornation of perjury, howsoever described, is construed as a reference to perjury or to subornation of perjury, as the case may be.
Other False Statements on Oath
Any person required or authorised by law to make any statement on oath for any purpose, and being lawfully sworn (otherwise than in judicial or other proceedings) who gives or causes to be given, or adduces or causes to be adduced, a statement material for that purpose that is false in any material respect, and he or she knows to be false, commits an offence.
False Statutory Declarations & Statements without oath
A person commits an offence if he or she, otherwise than on oath, gives or causes to be given, or adduces or causes to be adduced, a statement that is false in any material respect, and he or she knows to be false and the statement is made in any of the following:
- a statutory declaration;
- a statement of truth made in place of a statutory declaration ;
- an abstract, account, balance sheet, book, certificate, declaration, entry, estimate, inventory, notice, report, return, or other document which the person is authorised or required to make, attest, or verify, by or under any enactment;
- any oral declaration or oral answer which the person is required to make by, under, or in pursuance of any
Fabrication of Evidence
A person commits an offence if he or she, with intent to mislead any judicial or other proceeding—
- fabricates evidence by any means other than as provided for in respect of perjury or subornation of perjury, or
- knowingly makes use of such fabricated evidence.
Incitement to Commit Offence
A person commits an offence if he or she incites another person to commit an offence under the perjury legilsaiton.
A person accused of an offence, or of any offence declared by any other Act to be perjury or subornation of perjury, or to be punishable as perjury or subornation of perjury, is not to be convicted of that offence upon the evidence of one witness only unless that evidence is corroborated in some material particular by evidence that implicates the person so accused.
Proof of Proceedings
On a prosecution—
- for perjury alleged to have been committed on the trial of an indictment, or
- for subornation of perjury in respect of perjury alleged to have been committed on any such trial,
the fact of the former trial shall be sufficiently proved by the production of a certificate containing the substance and effect (omitting the formal parts) of the indictment and trial purporting to be signed by the registrar of the court concerned, or other person having the custody of the records of the court where the indictment was tried, or by the deputy of that registrar or such other person, without proof of the signature or official character of the person appearing to have signed the certificate.
Form of Oath and Perjury
For the purposes of this Act, the forms and ceremonies used in administering an oath are immaterial, if—
- the court or person before whom the oath is taken has power to administer an oath for the purpose of verifying the statement in question, and
- if the oath has been administered in a form and with ceremonies which the person taking the oath has accepted without objection or has declared to be binding on him or
A person who commits an offence under the perjury legilsaiton is liable—
- on summary conviction, to a class B fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both, or
- on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or
Where an offence under this Act is committed by a body corporate and the offence is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any wilful neglect of, a person who, when the offence was committed, was a director, manager, secretary or other officer of the body corporate or of a person purporting to act in such a capacity, that person, as well as the body corporate, is guilty of an offence and is liable to be proceeded against and punished as if guilty of the first-mentioned offence.
Where the affairs of a body corporate are managed by its members, subsection (1) applies in relation to the acts or defaults of a member in connection with his or her functions of management as if he or she were a director or manager of the body corporate.
Proceedings for Offences
No proceedings for an offence for an offence of perjury or subornation of perjury, shall be brought except by, or with the consent of, the Director of Public
Summary proceedings in relation to an offence under this Act or an offence of perjury or subornation of perjury under any other enactment or law may be commenced—
- at any time within 12 months from the date on which the offence was committed, or
- at any time within 6 months from the date on which evidence that, in the opinion of the person by whom such proceedings are brought, is sufficient to justify the bringing of proceedings, comes to such person’s knowledge,
whichever is the later, but no such proceedings shall be commenced later than 3 years from the date on which the offence concerned was committed.
Where the making of a false statement is not only an offence under the perjury act but also by virtue of some other enactment is a corrupt practice or subjects the offender to any forfeiture or disqualification or to any penalty other than imprisonment or fine, then the liability of the offender under this Act shall be in addition to and not in substitution for his or her liability under that other enactment.