What is a False Statement?
134 (1) every one who, not being specially permitted, authorized or required by law to make a statement under oath or solemn affirmation, makes such a statement, by affidavit, solemn declaration or deposition or orally before a person who is authorized by law to permit it to be made before him, knowing that the statement is false, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
- Making false statements to a registry or entity by way of a sworn statement.
- Making false statements to a court via submission of a written affidavit.
- Making false statements during a deposition.
If you have been charged with a false statement, it is highly advisable that you consult a lawyer immediately. There are defences available to you, which depend on the specific facts of your case. The following list includes defences that may be available:
Factual Innocence: If the Crown is unable to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt, they will have failed to discharge their burden:
- the identity of the offender;
- the date and time of the incident and jurisdiction;
- that the accused intended to provide a false statement;
A successful Charter challenge may also result in a stay of proceedings or evidence from your case being excluded.
Examples of defences which may be raised under the Charter specific to false statement charges, could be, for example, section 8 for search and seizure. Due to the fact that it is possible the police will be required to seize evidence of an accused’s intent to provide false statement communications, by way of cellular phone warrant or wiretapping, it is necessary that the accused person’s rights are not infringed as per section 8 of the charter.
If you are charged with a false statement it is a summary offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is two (2) years less a day in prison, and/or a fine not exceeding $5000.
Whether you intend to plead guilty to a charge under section 134(1), it is important to consult a lawyer prior. There may be factors which apply to your punishment/sentencing which are relevant and important for consideration, which may result in a lesser punishment.
Have you been charged with false statements?
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Overview of the Offence
Section 134(1) of the Criminal Code states:
Section 134(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with the offence of perjury. It specifies that any person who knowingly makes a false statement under oath or solemn affirmation, either by means of a written affidavit, a solemn declaration or a deposition or orally before an authorized person, is committing an offence punishable by summary conviction. Perjury is a serious offence as it involves lying under oath or affirmation, which undermines the justicesystem and can result in wrongful convictions. It is important to note that section 134(1) only applies to statements made under oath or solemn affirmation that are not permitted, authorized or required by law.
This means that if a person makes a statement that they believe to be true when they make it, but later discovers it is false, they have not committed perjury. Overall, the purpose of section 134(1) is to maintain the integrity of the judicial process and ensure that the truth is spoken under oath or solemn affirmation, thereby upholding justice in Canada
False statement is a summary offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. In order to be convicted, the Crown prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The crown must also prove several elements of the offence, such as: confirming the accused’s identity, the date(s) and time(s) which the incident(s) occurred, the jurisdiction, that the accused had knowledge that their actions were intended to commit the offence of false statement.
The presumption of innocence applies in that the accused is presumed innocent until convicted of the offence.
The Guilty Act (Actus Reus)
The actus reus for the offence of false statement is established by proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the following:
The accused made a statement by oath, declaration or affidavit which was false.
The Guilty Mind (Mens Rea)
The mens rea for knowingly and willfully,) made a statement in relation to a matter within the jurisdiction of Canada, with knowledge of its falsity.
How to beat a charge of False Statement:
- that you truly believed your statements were accurate, based on your perspective and the information you had available to you at the time you provided the statement;
- that you did not have a proper understanding of the question(s) asked;
- that you had no intent to mislead the entity to which you provided the statement
Each circumstance is different, and the best defence available is contextual based on the details. As described above, if the circumstances present the opportunity to use a defence of factual innocence, or a violation of charter rights, this is something that should be discussed with your lawyer.
In matters of False statement, it is very important to ensure that the evidence was obtained lawfully. In order to gather evidence, or even initiate an investigation of false statements, the circumstances may involve the police intercepting private communications, which are provided protective rights by the Charter.
It is advisable to consult a lawyer in such circumstances, however, there may be circumstances where evidence was obtained from the accused person without their consent, and where they held a reasonable expectation of privacy. If this is the case, it is important to seek consultation from a lawyer to ensure that the accused’s rights under section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were not violated. If they were, there have been circumstances where the courts have deemed the evidence seized in this manner inadmissible.
For example, if following an incident, an accused person sent private text messages to a close friend discussing the matter, and the police seized and searched the accused’s cellular phone without a warrant, this evidence may not be admissible. Evidence, and how it was seized, although always important to examine diligently, is especially so in circumstances which lead to a charge of False statement. It is important to determine the accused’s expectation of privacy in this context, and whether the police obtained warrants to search the devices, or were required to.
The maximum penalty for a conviction under Section 134(1) the Criminal Code is 2 years less a day jail and/or a $5,000 fine
Whether you intend to plead guilty to a charge under section 134(1), it is important to consult a lawyer prior. There may be factors which apply to your punishment/sentencing which are relevant and important for consideration, which may result in a lesser punishment. This depends on the unique circumstances of each matter and is determined on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, it is important to consult a lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a False Statement a criminal offence in Canada?
Yes, Sabotage is an offence under section 134(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
What is the punishment for a false statement?
Offences under s. 134 [giving false sworn stmt] are straight summary conviction offences. The maximum penalty is 2 years less a day jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
Can you go to jail for being convicted of providing a false statement?
Yes, if convicted, Offences under s. 134 [giving false sworn stmt] are straight summary conviction offences. The maximum penalty is 2 years less a day jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
R. v. Hanneson, 1989 CanLII 7159 (ON CA)
The accused(s) were police officers in the province of Ontario, convicted of providing false information in relation to the assault of a suspect in custody. The false information was contained in the police reports which they were required to provide/submit as part of the judicial process, as well as statements made in accordance with the Ontario Police Act. The police officers’ convictions were held on appeal.
You can read the full decision here.
R. v. Stapleton, 1982 CanLII 3331 (ON CA)
The accused was convicted of providing a false statement, which he provided both orally and signed, making a false statement/complaint about being assaulted by a police officer who had arrested the accused for break and enter. The trial judge held a voir dire with respect to the statement but at the conclusion of the voir dire held that the voir dire was unnecessary since the statement constituted the gravamen of the offence.
You can read the full decision here.
R. v. Kendell, 2008 CanLII 13164 (NL PC)
The accused was convicted of providing a false statement under oath (perjury) in relation to a fraudulent bill of sale pertaining to a motor vehicle transaction. Evidence included the signed bill of sale, as well as testimony under oath.
You can read the full decision here.