FORGERY ¦ UTTERING
s488 Criminal Code 1899 makes it an offence to forge or utter a document with intent to defraud.
What the prosecution must prove.
The prosecution must prove that a defendant:
1. Forged or Uttered a document.
2. Did so with intent to defraud.
What it means.
To forge means to make, alter or deal with the document so that the whole or part of it presents as something it is not or was prepared or executed by someone else.
To utter means to knowingly use or present a forged document.
A document includes anything on which there is writing, marks, figures, symbols, codes, or perforations.
The prosecution must prove an actual intention to defraud. An intention to defraud is includes intention to deprive another someone of a right or cause them to act to their detriment.
It is not necessary to prove a financial benefit or loss.
The available defences.
Honest Claim of Right
The usual penalties.
The maximum penalty for the offence of Forgery or Uttering is 3 years imprisonment.
The maximum penalty is increased to 14 years imprisonment if it is charged and proved beyond reasonable doubt that the offence was committed in respect of:
• An insurance policy.
• A Will.
• A document regarding an interest in land.
• A valuable security.
The maximum penalty is increased to 7 years imprisonment if it is charged and proved beyond reasonable doubt that the offence was committed in respect of:
• Power of Attorney.
• A contract.
The maximum penalty is a poor numerical indicator of sentences usually imposed. It plays a very important role in setting the seriousness of an offence. The maximum penalty is hardly ever imposed.
Penalties for the criminal offence of Forgery or uttering vary widely. First offences are frequently dealt with by way of fine or community based order. More serious examples of the offence involving large sums of money or a sophisticated scheme can attract a sentence of imprisonment.
The offence of Forgery can be finalised in the Magistrates Court if the value of the property is less than $30,000.00 or the matter is proceeding as a plea of guilty.
A defended matter involving property valued at more than $30,000.00 can only be finalised in the District Court.