Bribery, contempt of court and perjury

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Bribery, contempt of court and perjury

Some offences are considered to be crimes against ‘justice’ itself. Justice includes the courts, the legal system and the police. They include:

  • bribery
  • contempt of court
  • making false statements
  • perjury.

These offences are taken very seriously by the courts and carry heavy penalties, including imprisonment. Get legal advice.


In relation to crimes against justice, bribery is offering a public official (such as a police officer) money or other favours to get them to act in your interests.

Bribery of a public official carries a penalty of up to 10 years jail.

Contempt of court

A magistrate can hold you in contempt of court if they think you’re ignoring or challenging the court’s authority or a direction of a court. For example:

  • interrupting a court hearing
  • refusing to come to court or to answer questions if you are called as a witness.

Penalties for contempt vary depending on the circumstances but can include fines and/or jail.

False statements

The law requires you to tell the truth when you are:

If you don’t tell the truth in these situations, you may be committing an offence. The offences you could be charged with include:

  • perjury (deliberately giving false evidence in a court or tribunal)
  • making a false statement
  • making a false report to police.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with criminal offences.

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