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Royal Dutch Shell employees warned about giving perjured testimony

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 01.06.41Shell staff were reminded recently of the obligation to be truthful if called upon to testify under oath. They were also reminded that even when testifying as a Shell employee on behalf of Shell, they were personally liable for the consequences of any untruths or misleading statements that they made.

DEFINITION OF PERJURY: The deliberate, willful giving of false, misleading, or incomplete testimony under oath.

From a Regular Contributor

I heard on the grapevine that Shell staff were reminded recently of the obligation to be truthful if called upon to testify under oath. They were also reminded that even when testifying as a Shell employee on behalf of Shell, they were personally liable for the consequences of any untruths or misleading statements that they made.

It may seem surprising to some people that senior Shell staff needed to be reminded of their legal obligation to be truthful when testifying. I also understand that some Shell employees were surprised to learn that they were personally liable for the consequences of any misleading statements they made when testifying on behalf of their employer.

I’m sure that there are still people within Shell naïve enough to believe that they can further their careers by providing misleading testimony on behalf of their employer, and assuming that their employer will be able to protect them from the consequences. International employees may also believe that they can provide testimony in a foreign jurisdiction without fear of being pursued in their home country.

Shell employees might therefore be interested in the information provided in this Wikipedia article defining the act of perjury and covering the potential penalties for perjury in a number of countries. It does not cover all issues, but provides an indication of the potential dire consequences of deliberately giving false testimony under oath.

Extracts

England and Wales

Perjury is a statutory offence in England and Wales. It is created by section 1(1) of the Perjury Act 1911. Section 1 of that Act reads:

(1) If any person lawfully sworn as a witness or as an interpreter in a judicial proceeding wilfully makes a statement material in that proceeding, which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true, he shall be guilty of perjury, and shall, on conviction thereof on indictment, be liable to penal servitude for a term not exceeding seven years, or to imprisonment . . . for a term not exceeding two years, or to a fine or to both such penal servitude or imprisonment and fine.

United States

Perjury’s current position in America’s legal takes the form of state and federal statutes. Most notably, the United States Code prohibits perjury, which is defined in two senses for federal purposes as someone who:
(1) Having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true; or
(2) in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code, willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true[29]

The above statute provides for a fine and/or up to five years in prison as punishment.

See also: Making false statements

RELATED

Question: What Is the Crime of Perjury?

Answer: In its most simple form, perjury is lying under oath. The crime of perjury is the willful swearing, either spoken or in writing, to tell the truth and then giving false information.Perjury can occur even if the person has not been sworn to tell the truth, such as in a courtroom. Merely signing a document under penalty of perjury that contains false statements can be a crime. Signing an income tax return that contains false information is an act of perjury, for example.In most jurisdictions, the false information has to be material to the issue or affect the outcome for perjury to be a chargeable crime. If the false statement directly affects the results of the case or causes a unjust decision to be made, the person can be charged with perjury.Because the crime of perjury can cause a miscarriage of justice to occur, it is considered a very serious crime. Under U.S. federal law, for example, perjury is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.PS. If anyone can help with perjury law for the Netherlands, please point me in the right direction.

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