Amendment to the Criminal Code to introduce the new offence of “wickedness of justice”

18.10.2018

The amendment to the Criminal Code (Parliamentary Press No. 79) will most probably “ground” a new offence of wickedness of justice (newly proposed by Section 347a). The governmental proposal was supported by the Lower House of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. Neither the senate nor the president is expected to return it to the legislative process.

Section 347a reads as follows:

(1) Who for the purposes of initiating proceedings before a court, before an international judicial authority or criminal procedure or in such proceedings submits evidence of which he or she knows to be counterfeit or altered intends to be used as genuine or counterfeit or amends the means of proof intending to be used as a right, will be punished by imprisonment for up to two years.

(2) Any person who is guilty of persuading somebody to commit the criminal offence of false accusation (Section 345), false testimony, false expert opinion (Section 346) or false interpreting (Section 347) shall likewise be punished by imprisonment for up to three years.

(3) Who alone or through another, provides, offers or promises a benefit to another person or for another person for the purpose of committing the criminal offence of false accusation (Section 345), false testimony and false expert opinion (Section 346) or false interpreting (Section 347), shall be punished by imprisonment for up to three years.

In general, this means that the person who deliberately submits false evidence (contract, delivery note, invoice, etc.) to influence the proceedings in his favour, will be accused. The same is true when he or she influences the witness to such a degree that the witness provides false testimony.

If I were only to rely on the language version of the proposed provision, then the fact of the new offence should not be affected by the tax procedure (paragraph 1 describes civil and criminal proceedings). However, I fear that it is only a matter of time before the crime will be extended to other proceedings as well.

In light of the foregoing, we should be prudent not to cause more harm than benefit with any evidence that we jointly present to tax administrators.




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