Criminal Trials Court Bench Book Update 50 published

Update 50, April 2016

[1-100] — Child/witness accused

The High Court decision of The Queen v GW (2016) 90 ALJR 407 has been added at:

  • [1-110] Competence of children and other witnesses
  • [1-115] Sworn evidence
  • [1-120] Jury directions — unsworn evidence.

Where a witness is a young child it is not necessary to direct a jury as to the differences between sworn and unsworn evidence. The fact that the child in The Queen v GW did not take an oath or make an affirmation (and was not exposed to the consequences of adhering to either) was held to be not material to the assessment of whether the evidence is truthful or unreliable.

[1-440] — Jury

The case of Hughes v R [2015] NSWCCA 330 was added at [1-450Adverse publicity in the media and on the internet.

[1-600] — Oaths and affirmations

The oath/affirmation to be taken by children’s champions was added.

[8-050] — Prospect of disagreement

The case of Isika v R [2015] NSWCCA 304 has been added at [8-050] Introduction. In response to a question from the jury about what would happen if the jury members disagreed, a judge’s direction referred to the time and cost of trials. It was held that this direction contravened Black v The Queen (1993) 179 CLR 44.

[10-500]ff — Miscellaneous — District Court Criminal Practice Notes

District Court Criminal Practice Note 11, which deals with the child sexual offence evidence pilot, has been added at [10-525].