Monday, September 2, 2013

Australia: Update--Italian, 26, Charged with False "Carjacking" Report Could Face 3 Years in Prison

According to The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and as a follow-up to my last two postings of August 31 and August 30, Tiziana Ruffinatto, 26, an Italian citizen, appeared briefly in court earlier today (September 2).

At the time of her arraignment, the young woman and was charged with a series of offenses, including making a false report to police about being carjacked on the Territory's Kakadu Highway on August 29, two counts of false declarations, failing to report a traffic accident and driving without due care resulting in injuries and property damage.

COMMENT: Ms. Ruffinatto appeared in the Darwin Magistrates Court and is facing a maximum three years in prison. Considering that she caused police to expend considerable investigative and forensic resources, not to mention the attributed embarrassment, it is expected that she could easily be sentenced to some jail time for fabricating a crime that never occurred.

Ms. Ruffinatto was also directed to surrender her passport.

Police allege that Ruffinatto told officers she was assaulted and robbed on the Kakadu Highway on Thursday morning, but later admitted she'd made up the entire story. 

In point of fact, Ms. Ruffinatto crashed her hire car into a tree near Jabiru, causing extensive panel damage. 

As I mentioned in one of  my earlier postings, in the last few years we have seen a number of cases whereby tourists in foreign countries have no compunction at all in lying to police and filing fraudulent police reports.

In such cases, such conduct warrants jail time so as not to send a signal that filing false police reports is a serious offense and should be dealt with firmly.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.