or Irish law
, perversion of the course of justice
is a criminal offence in which someone acts in a manner that in some way prevents justice
being served on either themselves or on a third party. Perverting the course of justice is an offence in common law
. It carries a theoretical maximum sentence of life imprisonment
, although no sentence of more than 10 years has been handed down in the past one hundred years .
Perversion of the course of justice takes the form of one of three acts:
- Fabrication or disposal of evidence
- Intimidating a witness or juror
- Threatening a witness or juror
It is also criminal to conspire with another to pervert the course of justice and to intend to pervert the course of justice.
Statutory versions of the offence exist in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. See, for example, Section 319 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), where the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment.
Similar crimes include perjury, contempt of court and obstruction of justice.
High-profile persons convicted of perverting the course of justice