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By section 1(1) of the Perjury Act 1911, perjury is committed when: The offence is triable only on indictment and carries a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment and/or a fine.
A conviction cannot be obtained solely on the evidence of a single witness as to the falsity of any statement. It is regarded as serious whether it is committed in the context of a minor case, for example a car passenger who falsely states that the driver did not jump a red light as alleged, or a serious case, for example a false alibi witness in a bank robbery case.
The course of justice must be in existence at the time of the act(s).
The guidance set out in this charging standard: The following factors will be relevant to all public justice offences when assessing the relative seriousness of the conduct and which offence, when there is an option, should be charged.The offence of Perverting the Course of Justice is committed when an accused: The offence is contrary to common law and triable only on indictment.It carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and/or a fine.Consider whether the conduct: In some cases there may be public interest factors against a prosecution; however, prosecutions for public justice offences should usually go ahead and those factors should be put to the court for consideration when sentence is being passed.For guidance on charging in cases involving rape and/or domestic violence allegations, please refer to the separate Perverting the Course of Justice legal guidance in cases involving rape and/or domestic violence allegations.