A 20-year old woman has pleaded guilty to a charge of knowingly making a false or misleading statement after lying to police that she was stalked and sexually assaulted.

Caitlyn Gray’s admission came only after Police could find no CCTV evidence to back up her story that she was sexually assaulted by a man who tried to help her when her car broke down, and when investigators continually pressed her about the truth in her story.

And although she has saved the man she falsely accused from the possibility of a long term in prison, she has also ruined his life.

As a result of false accusations made by Ms Gray, Kevin Basic was fired from his job, he is facing divorce proceedings and spent one week at one of NSW’s high-security prisons.

Web of lies

Ms Gray’s web of lies began last year when she was involved in a minor car accident in the western Sydney suburb of Bankstown. She managed to drive her car, with its damaged radiator, to a local service station. Mr Basic pulled up at the same service station just a short time later and offered to help her to get her car on the road so she could get home.

The court heard that after the car was fixed, Ms Gray claimed Mr Basic said she “owed him a hug” for the favour. She told police he requested oral sex or a hand job. She also accused him of following her before her car began to over-heat and she was forced to stop, get out and lift the bonnet.

This second breakdown, Ms Gray told Police, occurred on Milperra Rd in Liverpool, where Mr Basic ‘groped’ her and tried to get into her car.

Ms GRay told police she called her boyfriend, “yelling”. Her boyfriend used a second phone to call police. Police eventually found Ms Gray distressed by the roadside and took her to the local police station where she made a statement and signed it.

Charges based on lies

Mr Basic was arrested the next day. He openly admitted to Police that he had helped the teenager fix her car before following her to Milperra Rd to make sure she didn’t break down again. He was arrested and charged with two counts of acts of indecency, one count of incite person over the age of 16 to commit an act of indecency and one count of stalk and intimidate intending to cause fear or physical harm, and taken to Silverwater Jail in Sydney’s west.

No evidence to back up the made-up story

But over the coming days, as Police painstakingly collected and reviewed CCTV footage from the roads identified in Ms Gray’s made-up ordeal, they could not find any evidence to back up her story. When pressed, Ms Gray assured officers she was not lying.

Eventually, however, Ms Gray did confess, and on the basis of this admission Mr Basic was urgently released from jail.

Making a false accusation – the law in NSW

Because of the serious impact that false accusations can have on another person’s life, as well as the potential for unfounded accusations to result in a wrongful conviction, the law the making of false accusations very seriously, and offences against false reports are contained in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Section 547B of the Act is headed ‘public mischief’ and prescribes a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment for knowingly making a false representation to a police officer that an act has occurred, or will occur, so as to call for a police investigation.

In addition, section 314 of the Act is titled ‘false accusations’ and sets down a maximum penalty of seven years in prison for making an accusation against another person with the intention of subjecting that person to an investigation while knowing the person is innocent.

The sentencing hearing has been adjourned until next month at the request of her criminal defence lawyer so that a psychological assessment can be obtained