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Lying in court proceedings

People lie and, not surprisingly, they even lie in court because they so desperately want to win. The risks are high. Although much is made of it online and lots of people report others getting away with it, especially in family cases, you really wouldn’t want to be the one who gets caught out by lying in court.

You may not get an actual punishment, in fact many don’t, but there’s still a lot to lose. For example, you’ll not just be seriously embarrassed in the courtroom but your whole case could fall apart immediately. It can be quite a spectacle in court to watch someone’s case falling apart through this kind of stupidity. 

Keep reading to find out more about the implications of lying in court…

What kinds of lies do people tell?

Many couples involved in a bitter divorce, many parents in dispute over their children and many families up in arms with each other over money, are tempted to exaggerate or embroider the truth, omit key information or even just make things up.  A parent might make the other parent out to be totally unreliable and unreasonable with a history of alcohol or drug abuse or irrational behaviour. Or they may present the other as completely self obsessed with no interest in their children.  One parent may even accuse the other of sexually abusing the children or say there’s been domestic abuse when there hasn’t. This last example is more prevalent at the moment because getting legal aid can depend on alleging violence, so there’s an incentive.  Sometimes there will also be third parties who add to the mix, making untrue accusations which make things worse, such as family members, friends, and even neighbours. 

Accusations can, of course, sometimes be totally true, but they may be greatly exaggerated or a lie.  Whatever the allegation, the court, judge, jury or magistrates, has no idea what’s really true and is left trying to figure out whose evidence to trust. Unfortunately they won’t always get it right.  How will the court decide?

Proving lies in the family court – produce the evidence

There are lots of instances in the family court when you can’t prove something is untrue, but there are things you can do to try to ensure the truth emerges. It’s one thing when it’s a “he said, she said” situation, but there are a lot of other instances where some form of evidence is available to support what you’re saying. 

Use your mobile to make a record and take a photo

Perhaps you’re accused of being late for contact with the children on numerous occasions or that you regularly fail to attend. This is a common problem in contact cases. If it’s not true, make sure you can prove it by making a careful record using ONRECORD, the evidence gathering app. On each occasion arrive a bit early to give you time to make a record with a photo of where you are, such as the street outside the house where you’re collecting the children.  Upload it immediately. You can use an EXIF (exchangeable image file format) app with your photo to show the location (as long as you have location turned on), date and time (beware: some of these apps use the American dating system so don’t get confused).  You can screenshot the EXIF information and upload it to your record along with the original photo you took. And by having location services active for ONRECORD, and choosing your current location when you upload your record, location, date and time are all saved and can later be accessed, if you need it as evidence, by logging in on the platform. 

There are lots of situations where taking a photo and making a record to show where you were and when might be necessary.  For example you might have been accused of taking the children to somewhere that’s not agreed, such as a new girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s place. You might have actually gone to the seaside miles away. Keeping records of what you did and where you went can prove a lie when the accusations come in. 

It’s wise to ….

Be discreet about taking photos to confirm your location and you shouldn’t let the children know you’re doing it because it would be involving them in your dispute. My advice would be to make records like this from the start in any case.  You really can’t be sure how things will go in a dispute and you may fear such an accusation being made against you, so I wouldn’t wait for the accusations to come in but just record everything right from the start. It will give you peace of mind. 

Be resourceful in collecting evidence. You may never need it but it could be the difference between being believed or not. 

Get a witness

You may have a relative, friend or other witness who can confirm something you’ve done, something you’ve said or where you’ve been. They might be able to say that the children had a lovely time at the seaside and enjoyed it when it’s being alleged they spent the whole time upset and crying.  If they will back you up that’s really helpful too.  

Stand up for yourself

Don’t be defeated. There are ways that you can defeat a lie, even if the only people who heard or saw the event were you and the person telling the lie. They’ll be surprised if you can show them up.  Exposing a lie may even swing the case in your favour and at least they’ll be more careful afterwards! 

Jill Canvin

Founder ONRECORD

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