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What is the punishment for falsely accusing someone?

Thursday, 30 November 2023

Accusing someone falsely of a crime, especially serious offences such as sexual crimes and historical sexual offences, is a grave matter. This blog explores the legal implications and charges that can be brought against individuals making false accusations, shedding light on the complex legal framework designed to uphold the integrity of the justice system in Scotland.

If you have been accused of a crime you did not commit, contact our team today for support and guidance.


Under the False Oaths (Scotland) Act 1933, making a false statement under oath in judicial proceedings, including providing false evidence in court, is a criminal offence. This act seeks to ensure the veracity of information presented in court and upholds the sanctity of the legal process. Those found guilty of perjury may face imprisonment for up to five years.

It's crucial to recognise that this act plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the truthfulness of statements made under oath, emphasising the seriousness with which the legal system views the act of providing false information during judicial proceedings.

Wasting Police Time

The Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 criminalises knowingly making false reports that lead to a wasteful employment of the police. This offence aims to prevent the diversion of police resources due to baseless claims. Individuals found guilty of wasting police time may face either a fine or imprisonment for a period of up to three months.

Understanding this legislation is crucial, as it highlights the legal consequences of knowingly providing false information that can divert law enforcement resources away from genuine cases.

Perverting the Course of Justice

Perverting the course of justice, a common law offence, encompasses acts that interfere with the administration of justice, including making false accusations. The severity of the punishment, including imprisonment, depends on the circumstances of the case. This offence underscores the gravity of actions that obstruct the proper functioning of the justice system.

It's imperative to recognise that the legal consequences for perverting the course of justice are nuanced and depend on the unique circumstances surrounding each case, emphasising the need for a careful examination of the facts.

Prosecution Discretion

The decision to prosecute offences related to false accusations rests with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). Factors such as public interest and the likelihood of securing a conviction are considered in this process. The Prosecution Policy and Guidance provided by COPFS offers insights into the considerations involved in the prosecution of these offences.


It's essential to recognise that the information presented here serves as a general guide and does not constitute legal advice. Individuals facing accusations or seeking to understand these legal nuances should consult a legal professional for advice tailored to their specific circumstances. Understanding the gravity of making false accusations is paramount in upholding the integrity of the Scottish justice system.

Contact our Criminal Defence Solicitors in Glasgow, Scotland

To ensure you get the best result, it is always best to work with defence solicitors who have experience with this complex area of the law, which our team has.

If you believe you are at risk of being charged with a criminal offence, don't hesitate to contact our team today 0141 336 2020, or fill in our online contact form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.



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