A 45-year-old woman has been fined $4,000 (£2996) in the Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court in Western Australia on Monday (27 November) for "wasting police resources" after she falsely accused a Perth taxi driver of sexual abuse.
Allison Louise Reardon, 45, had called the Australian emergency number and told the operator that the driver had placed his hands down her pants, on top of her underwear. However, when detectives reviewed the CCTV footage of her taxi ride, they found that no assault ever took place.
The woman, who was in Perth in June to attend a work conference, later pleaded guilty in the court for creating a false belief, according to Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Reardon had reportedly told the court that during her 12-minute taxi ride, she became upset after the driver took a longer route to reach her destination.
She even tried to break the driver's identification card before calling triple zero emergency number to file sex abuse complaint, the court heard during the sentencing hearing.
Reardon, during the emergency call, spoke about her dispute with the taxi driver and when asked if there was anything life-threatening, she reportedly said, "Well, he sexually assaulted me".
"The CCTV footage shows the driver did not assault the woman as she described," police prosecutor Senior Constable Thomas Banyard told the court.
Reardon's lawyer Carmel McKenzie told the court, "She had been struggling at that time and in fact her husband did not feel she was well enough to attend the conference, but she didn't want to let her employer down."
McKenzie also told the court that Reardon had consumed some alcohol at the work function before she got into the taxi. She said Reardon was "disorientated", "confused" and "not cognisant".
Magistrate Adam Hills-Wright reprimanded Reardon for the false accusing, stating that there was no evidence to suggest there was any connection between her alcohol consumption and medication that reduced her "moral culpability".
The magistrate said that it was a "serious example" of the offence which could lead to a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in prison and a $12,000 fine. Hills-Wright also said that the taxi driver was just "doing his job".
"You've placed this driver in anybody's worst nightmare ... it is anybody's worst nightmare where they are falsely accused of a sexual crime.
"You maintained this lie over several hours while speaking to the triple-0 operator, police and even the Sexual Assault Squad.
"They are a specialist squad for bona fide abuse cases, and you wasted their resources," the magistrate noted.
Reardon's fine includes $480.34 towards police overtime and $198 in court costs.