APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DANIEL
J. WHITE, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE ROMITI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
In a bench trial James Anderson, defendant, was convicted of perjury and sentenced to one year probation. In this appeal defendant contends that the State failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the statements in question were material or false.
We reverse the conviction.
The Illinois perjury statute provides in relevant part:
"(a) A person commits perjury when, under oath or affirmation, in a proceeding or in any other matter where by law such oath or affirmation is required, he makes a false statement, material to the issue or point in question, which he does not believe to be true.
An indictment or information for perjury alleging that the offender, under oath, has made contradictory statements, material to the issue or point in question, in the same or in different proceedings, where such oath or affirmation is required, need not specify which statement is false. At the trial, the prosecution need not establish which statement is false." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 32-2.
The charge against the defendant was based on allegedly contradictory statements made under oath by him in a Cook County grand jury proceeding and subsequently at a murder trial. Aside from a stipulation that defendant was 21 at the time of his perjury trial and an additional stipulation that defendant made the statements under oath, the only evidence at the perjury trial was the transcript of defendant's testimony at the two prior proceedings.
At the grand jury proceeding May 11, 1973, defendant first testified that he knew Gregory Gordon, Charles Jennings and Donald Jennings. A time reference for the rest of his testimony was then established by the following:
"Q. In the recent past, have you ever had any discussions with these three individuals, regarding any robberies?
Q. Approximately how long ago did this discussion take place?