The expert’s opinion is one of the most important evidence in court. Regardless of whether a criminal, arbitral, or civil case is being considered, trust in the knowledge and experience of experts is the cornerstone of the process.
That is why in those cases when the expert goes on forgery and gives a deliberately false conclusion - this is always an occasion for the state to intervene and hold the violator accountable.
Which conclusion is knowingly false?
Based on the content of Article 307 of the Criminal Code, which describes this category of crimes, both the courts and law theorists always make one conclusion: giving an expert knowingly false conclusion is a crime only if committed with direct intent. This means that the expert did not just know that the data contained in his report did not correspond to reality, but also wanted to mislead the court or the investigation.
Thus, such a crime cannot be committed by accident. If the expert falsified and, having casually carried out the examination, was mistaken, he will not be liable. However, this conclusion does not mean that a malicious expert can always refer to an error. From the moment the expert signed the conclusion, which contains a lie, the crime has been committed. When the investigation begins, he will have to work hard, proving that he did not know and could not know that the conclusion was untrue.
Does the reason for the lie matter?
The reasons why the expert deliberately falsified the data are relevant only for sentencing. Whatever the reason, the deliberate lie of an expert is always a crime. However, if, in considering a criminal case already instituted against the expert himself, the court concludes that the former expert deserves leniency, he will simply be assigned a milder sentence.
What is the responsibility for a false conclusion?
In the event that the court determines that the expert involved in the case intentionally falsified his opinion, he will be punished. Its specific size is provided for by Art. 307 of the Criminal Code. Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the following types of punishment may be applied to the expert:
- a fine - up to 80 thousand rubles or half an income;
- compulsory work up to 480 hours;
- correctional labor - up to 2 years;
- arrest up to 3 months.
Fine and arrest is not all
In the event that the expert was involved in a criminal case involving a grave (that is, one which can be punished with up to 10 years in prison) or especially grave (where the term is already over 10 years, or life imprisonment, or formally still not yet abolished, although the death penalty is not applied) - the expert will be punished harder. In this case, there can be no question of any fines or corrections. The punishment will be either forced labor or imprisonment for up to 5 years.
It should be remembered that the expert’s responsibility for a false conclusion does not require that the court make an erroneous decision based on its conclusion. The fact itself is enough that the expert was not simply mistaken (which is possible in any profession), but gave a deliberately false conclusion, fully realizing what he was doing.
When can an expert liar escape responsibility?
In some cases, Russian criminal law is quite lenient. In the case of experts falsifying their conclusions, this also manifests itself. Note to Art. 307 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation states that if an expert voluntarily confesses a lie before the verdict or court decision in the case to which he was involved, he can be released from punishment.
When does the expert auditor respond?
With regard to the work of auditors, an audit report is recognized as false if it was either drawn up without any verification, or if the content of the documents that were examined during the audit contradicts the conclusions that the expert auditor made in his opinion. At the same time, it is not so important who exactly made the false conclusion - an individual auditor or a member of an audit organization.
In relation to the audit report, the same rules apply as for other experts: a knowingly false audit report can be called such only if a court decision has been taken on this fact.
The implications for the auditor will be the same as for all other experts. First, the auditor will lose his license to engage in his professional activities. Secondly, he can be prosecuted in accordance with the current criminal law. Regarding auditors, in addition to the general rules concerning all experts, a separate article is also valid - Art. 202 of the Criminal Code.
Thus, if it turns out that the
auditor involved in the trial
deliberately misrepresented these checks, he can be held accountable both as an expert and as an auditor. The punishment for the auditor is much more severe - up to three years in prison. In the same case, if a child or an incompetent person is affected by the actions of the auditor, the upper threshold of punishment rises to five years. Moreover, in any case, the auditor will be deprived of the right to engage in his professional activities for up to three years.
Who else is held accountable for lying in court or in the investigation?
In addition to experts who give a false conclusion, some more individuals are held accountable. These include:
- witness - for knowingly false testimonies;
- translator - for intentionally incorrect translation;
- the specialist is also for a false conclusion. From the point of view of procedural law, there is a difference between an expert and a specialist, but in this case it can be neglected. A specialist is also a person who has special knowledge, and if he uses them to the detriment of justice and the establishment of truth, he will answer according to the law.
Oddly enough, even a victim can be held liable for perjury. But a similar norm in relation to the defendant no longer exists. This is due to the fact that the defendant is already in an unequal position with the other participants in the process. The police and the investigation are working against him, his rights need special protection.
To some extent, the norm can be an analogy according to which the defendant is not obliged to testify. Again, unlike a witness or even a victim, he can calmly refuse to speak and will not bear any responsibility for this. The same principle of additional protection of rights applies here.