Man accepts $500 from biker to lie about witnessing crash
A MAN who was paid $500 to make false declarations to police and an insurance agency has been imprisoned.
Alistair Douglas Melton, 59, yesterday pleaded guilty at the Ipswich District Court to making a false verified statement and making a false declaration.
The court heard in October 2011 the North Ipswich man was living in Moorooka in Brisbane when a crash between a learner driver and motorcyclist occurred outside his house.
After the crash Melton was approached by the rider of the bike, who was later found guilty of causing the crash.
The man asked Melton to sign a statutory declaration falsely claiming he saw the accident and backing the motorcyclist's account of the crash for $500.
Melton agreed and signed a declaration claiming the learner driver had indicated to turn but continued driving straight, causing the accident.
Five months after the accident Melton was contacted by an AAMI insurance investigator and made a statement again backing up the false claim.
Two weeks later he recanted his statement and told the investigator he had lied. The police attended and charged Melton the same day.
The court heard at the time Melton was suffering depression and needed money to pay growing bills.
Defence barrister Geoff Seaholme told the court Melton was not called to testify or lie in front of a court and recanted his false statement shortly after telling the insurance investigator, before making full admissions to police.
While Melton had a long history of dishonesty offences, including fraud, Mr Seaholme said he had not committed a serious offence for a decade.
Judge Greg Koppenol told Melton he had committed two very serious crimes that "struck at the heart of the criminal justice system."
"Offences of this nature are very serious," he said.
Melton was sentenced to two years prison for making a false statutory declaration and 18 months for making a false statement. He will be released on parole after serving eight months.