Will Wright's Fake Evidence Land Him In Jail?

The Crown Prosecution Service would need to deem it in the public interest to start criminal proceedings against Wright.

The bar for prosecution is high - will it be met?

The "Satoshi trial" currently going through the courts in London has had more than its fair share of jaw-drop moments. Vast amounts of provably falsified evidence has been submitted by Craig Wright, something that even his own expert witnesses admit. Yesterday afternoon brought another bombshell, when his own lawyers, Shoosmiths, were forced to disclose to the court that yet more evidence was a forgery.

There's plenty of speculation in the crypto space that Wright may face criminal prosecution and potentially jail time for attempting to mislead the court. What are the odds of that?

Serious Crimes

Financial and crypto blog What The Finance unpacks the possibilities for Wright in a blog post. The long and the short of it is that even if the judge knows that Wright has submitted faked evidence, and this is clear beyond any doubt, he still may not face criminal proceedings.

But it's a possibility, and for Wright, that must be concerning at this point.

There are several possible charges that could be laid against him, particularly the following three:

  • Perjury (lying under oath).
  • Perverting the course of justice, including submitted forged evidence.
  • Forging documents.

These carry differing penalties, but in the worst case, Wright might find himself facing up to ten years in jail.

However, it's by no means certain things will get to that point.

A High Bar To Meet

Firstly, Wright would probably need to lose the current trial before the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) took interest in the perjury and forgery that have characterized it. It seems unlikely (to say the least) that he will win and be proclaimed Satoshi, but we can't preempt the legal process. It's possible that the judge will find in his favor.

Assuming that doesn't happen, the CPS won't automatically prosecute him. They would have to decide that doing so was in the public interest. (There are many cases where witnesses have lied in court and not been prosecuted.) This is a key trial for the crypto community, and for the whole sector. It's also a critical time for crypto, as bitcoin goes mainstream. Bitcoin's origins are in the spotlight like never before. Here is a man who claims to be Satoshi, and who claims that gives him certain rights over the entire ecosystem, and over those who have helped build Bitcoin into a trillion-dollar asset class. What's to stop someone else falsifying evidence and having a go themselves, if there is no deterrent in the form of Wright's prosecution?

Again, it's hard to imagine that the CPS wouldn't think that it was worth prosecuting, but public interest is a high bar, and the CPS has limited resources.

Finally, assuming it did go to trial, the CPS has to prove Wright's guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Unlike the current civil trial, it won't be decided on the balance of probability.

The CPS may decide to make an example of him. But they may decide the odds of a conviction are low enough, and the public benefit that would result is not great enough, that they are unwilling to expend time and money in prosecuting him.

Even if that doesn't happen, there's a high chance that some of Wright's previous legal victims will pile back in, armed with fresh evidence of his duplicity, and take him to the cleaners.

So no matter what happens in the current trial, this ain't over yet.

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