Welcome to the Evidence Act 2008

This blog was started back when the Evidence Act 2008 was nothing more than a gleam in Parliament's eye. It was an attempt to further understanding of some challenging new legislation when information about it was difficult to find.

Since then, many authors and luminaries have turned their minds to the complex issues the Act obliges Victorian lawyers to engage with. A blog devoted exclusively to this one piece of legislation isn't necessary, and is impossible for us to give the attention it deserves.

If you're looking for a more conventional blog posting on topical legal issues, have a look at Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? by the same authors.

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165. Unreliable evidence

165. Unreliable evidence

(1) This section applies to evidence of a kind that may be unreliable, including the following kinds of evidence-

(a) evidence in relation to which Part 3.2 (hearsay evidence) or 3.4 (admissions) applies;

(b) identification evidence;

(c) evidence the reliability of which may be affected by age, ill health (whether physical or mental), injury or the like;

(d) evidence given in a criminal proceeding by a witness, being a witness who might reasonably be supposed to have been criminally concerned in the events giving rise to the proceeding;

(e) evidence given in a criminal proceeding by a witness who is a prison

(f) oral evidence of questioning by an investigating official of a defendant that is questioning recorded in writing that has not been signed, or otherwise acknowledged in writing, by the defendant;

(g) in a proceeding against the estate of a deceased person-evidence adduced by or on behalf of a person seeking relief in the proceeding that is evidence about a matter about which the deceased person could have given evidence if he or she were alive.

(2) If there is a jury and a party so requests, the judge is to-

(a) warn the jury that the evidence may be unreliable; and

(b) inform the jury of matters that may cause it to be unreliable; and

(c) warn the jury of the need for caution in determining whether to accept the evidence and the weight to be given to it.

(3) The judge need not comply with subsection (2) if there are good reasons
for not doing so.

(4) It is not necessary that a particular form of words be used in giving the warning or information.

(5) This section does not affect any other power of the judge to give a
warning to, or to inform, the jury.

(6) Subsection (2) does not permit a judge to warn or inform a jury in
proceedings before it in which a child gives evidence that the reliability of the child's evidence may be affected by the age of the child. Any such warning or information may be given only in accordance with section 165A(2) and (3).


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