HC Deb 16 July 1997 vol 298 c181W
Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to review the law of perjury. [7918]

Mr. Michael

We have no plans to do so at present. Criminal sanctions are already available in appropriate cases. A person knowingly making a false report to the police which tends to show that they have evidence material to police inquiry may be charged with wasting police time and could be liable on conviction to imprisonment up to six months or a fine of £1,000. A person making a statement to a court which is material to the proceedings and which they know to be false may be liable to conviction for perjury and could face a prison sentence for up to seven years. The more serious common law offence of perverting, or attempting to pervert, the course of justice is committed where a person acts or embarks upon a course of conduct which has a tendency to, and is intended to, pervert the course of justice. It is a matter for the prosecuting authorities to decide in any such case whether there is sufficient evidence to mount a prosecution and whether it would be in the public interest. There are around 200 prosecutions for perjury a year, of which a high proportion of cases result in convictions, as indicated in my reply to my hon. Friend on 26 June,Official Report, column 574.