Criminal law & process 5

Victoria Australia

Don Just
barrister Melbourne

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Discretions to exclude evidence and the prejudice rule

Good character of accused


Incriminating and other damaging conduct post-offence especially lies

Judicially directed acquittal at trial

Juries: empanelment

Juries: empaneled to verdict or discharge without

Legal representation for accused

Motive to lie

Powers of Victoria Police


Prosecution disclosure



> Discretions to exclude evidence and the prejudice rule

version 20 June 2017

The general discretion: a court may refuse to admit (or limit the use of) evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger that the evidence might be unfairly prejudicial to a party: Evidence Act s.135, s.136. This is for other than evidence adduced by the prosecutor against a defendant.

Also, a court may refuse to admit (or limit the use of) evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger that the evidence might be misleading or confusing, or might cause or result in undue waste of time: Evidence Act s.135, s.136.

The prejudice rule: In a criminal proceeding, the court must refuse to admit evidence adduced by the prosecutor if its probative value is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to the defendant: Evidence Act s.137; Beqiri v R [2017] VSCA 112. In this consideration, the court proceeds on the basis that the jury will accept the evidence taken at its highest: Clarke (a Pseudonym) v R [2017] VSCA 115; IMM v R [2016] HCA 14; (2016) 257 CLR 300. The forerunner of the prejudice rule was the "Christie discretion" established by the UK House of Lords case R v Christie [1914] UKHL 641, [1914] AC 545. The statutory form is a rule rather than a discretion. It concerns a balancing consideration leaving no room for in addition some judicial choice. One example of unduly prejudicial evidence is that of scientific pedigree which a jury would likely regard it as being cloaked in an unwarranted mantle of legitimacy: DPP v Massey (a Pseudonym) [2017] VSCA 30.

Probative value of evidence means the extent to which the evidence could rationally affect the assessment of the probability of the existence of a fact in issue Evidence Act Dictionary.

Also, there subsists, a broad common law discretion to exclude evidence which is unfair to an accused: Haddara v R [2014] VSCA 100, (2014) 43 VR 53; Luna (a Pseudonym) v R [2016] VSCA 10.

> Good character of accused

version 1 April 2015

Evidence Act s.110; Saw Wah v R [2014] VSCA 7; Bishop v R [2013] VSCA 273. Allows defence evidence that accused is of good character or of good character in a particular respect. One method is by leading evidence of lack of previous conviction. Good character goes to the improbability that the accused committed the alleged offences, sometimes also to credibility of the accused.

Where the defence puts good character of the accused in issue, whether by way of disposition, reputation, or that an accused's antecedents are such that he is unlikely to have offended as alleged, evidence of bad character is admissible in rebuttal subject to discretion to exclude: Evidence Act s.110. Rumour, for example, cannot be rebuttal: Saw Wah v R [2014] VSCA 7. Pending charges cannot properly be rebuttal though evidence which may support other pending or possible charges might be: DPP v Newman (a Pseudonym) [2015] VSCA 25.

> Hearsay

version 6 March 2017

The hearsay rule is that evidence of a previous representation made by a person (i.e. an "asserted fact") is not admissible to prove the existence of a fact that it can reasonably be supposed that the person intended to assert by the representation: Evidence Act s.59.

The hearsay rule does not apply to evidence of a previous representation that is admitted because it is relevant for a purpose other than proof of an asserted fact: Evidence Act s.60. An example is as a prior inconsistent statement. It is preferable that a judge direct the jury that the factual assertions contained within representations so admitted may be used as evidence of the facts asserted but it is not ordinarily obligatory: Raimondi v R [2013] VSCA 194.

The hearsay rule does not apply to first-hand evidence of admissions by an accused: Evidence Act ss.81-90; notes 4. But ordinarily it does apply to a statement by an accused which is purely exculpatory or self-serving. An exception is that a self-serving statement will be admissible where it forms part of a mixed statement made before the accused is charged, which contains both inculpatory and exculpatory passages: Mule R [2005] HCA 49, (2005) 79 ALJR 1573; Xpolitos R [2014] VSCA 339.

The hearsay rule does not apply to evidence of a previous representation made by a person if the representation was a contemporaneous representation about the person's health, feelings, sensations, intention, knowledge or state of mind: Evidence Act s.66A. It is necessary, if the section is to be invoked, to establish that the state of mind to which it alludes is itself directly relevant to a fact in issue, and not merely inferentially so: Karam v R [2015] VSCA 50.

There are further exceptions to hearsay inadmissibility: Evidence Act ss.60-75. Some concern evidence of previous representation that is given by a person who saw, heard or otherwise perceived the representation being made where the person who made a previous representation is not available to give evidence: Evidence Act s.65; dictionary at end of Act para.4; Azizi v R [2012] VSCA 205; R v Rossi [2012] VSCA 228; DPP v BB [2010] VSCA 211. Some concern evidence of previous representation, made by a person who is available to give evidence, where the occurrence of the asserted fact was fresh in the memory of the person who made the representation: Evidence Act s.66: Stark v R [2013] VSCA 34; Singh v R [2011] VSCA 263; also Constantinou v R [2015] VSCA 177 (previous exculpatory representation by accused as rebuttal of claimed recent fabrication). Some concern business records: Evidence Act s.69; Lancaster v R [2014] VSCA 333, (2014) 44 VR 820.

With a charge for a sexual offence, there is a qualified exception concerning previous representations made by a complainant under 18 years: Criminal Procedure Act s.377; Velkoski v R [2014] VSCA 121; Stark v R [2013] VSCA 34. It is not limited to the asserted fact being fresh in the memory of the child. The court must be satisfied that the evidence is relevant to a fact in issue and is sufficiently probative having regard to the nature and content of the representation and the circumstances in which it was made.

> Incriminating and other damaging conduct post-offence especially lies

version 19 March 2017

It is the nature of adversarial contest that the prosecution will frequently be in dispute with all or part of a version which has been advanced by an accused in interview, alleged other pre-court utterance or testimony at court. Ordinarily the objective of the prosecution is to have the jury or other tribunal of fact reject the defence version and reach its decision upon the remaining evidence.

Sometimes however having regard to other evidence, internal contradiction or later admission, the prosecution is permitted to argue that a defence version is demonstrably a lie and thus an implied admission of guilt, or at least a strand in proof of guilt or corroborative of it. Often the expression used in this connection is  showing "consciousness of guilt". When the prosecution seeks this position, prior notice must be given and if permitted at trial, some warnings to jury as to the appropriate consideration are required: Jury Directions Act 2015 ss. 18-22; Di Giorgio v R [2016] VSCA 335. Circular or bootstrap argument must be avoided: Rana v R [2014] VSCA 198.

There are other alleged forms of post offence conduct or omission which may permit the prosecution to argue to be implied admission (consciousness of guilt) and there are the same Jury Directions Act 2015 ss. 18-22 requirements for warnings where it is so argued or there is risk a jury would so reason. Examples of such conduct are flight, concealment of physical evidence, urging to conceal incriminating utterance, demeanour of accused etc: Rossi v R [2012] VSCA 228; R v Farquharson [2009] VSCA 307; R v Ciantar [2006] VSCA 263, (2006) 16 VR 26; Ellis v R [2010] VSCA 302; R v Barrett [2007] VSCA 95, (2007) 16 VR 249; R v Favata [2006] VSCA 44. For limited circumstances in which silence or selective response may be incriminating, see site Notes 6.

Evidence of lying or other post-offence conduct may be put instead solely against credit of an accused to have the jury or other tribunal of fact reject the defence version and reach its decision upon the remaining evidence. Where this is permitted, warning to jury may be requested by defence: Jury Directions Act 2015 s.23.

> Judicially directed acquittal at trial

version 17 May 2017

After the close of the case for the prosecution, an accused is entitled to make a submission that there is no case for the accused to answer: Criminal Procedure Act s.226. A submission of no case to answer is heard in the absence of the jury and if successful, the judge discharges the jury and directs an entry of not guilty be made on the record: Criminal Procedure Act s.241(2). If there are multiple accused, any no case submissions are to be ruled upon before enquiry as to course any proceeding defence cases will take: Criminal Procedure Act s.229.

On the test for no-case, see Doney v R [1990] HCA 51, (1990) 171 CLR 207 and Dupas v R [2012] VSCA 328, (2012) 40 VR 182. The court in Doney confirmed the basic obligation of a trial judge to direct acquittal after the close of the prosecution case where there is an absence of evidence. The equivalent obligation extends to the Magistrates' Court and other criminal law courts without jury: May v O'Sullivan [1955] HCA 38, (1955) 92 CLR 654. A notion once current was that a trial judge could direct a acquittal after the close of the prosecution case on a rather vague ground of that though there was sufficient evidence, conviction would be unsafe in the sense of leaving a lurking doubt. The existence of such an unsafeness ground stands rejected in Victoria: Attorney-General's Reference (No 1 of 1983) [1983] VicRp 101, [1983] 2 VR 410 and elsewhere. The High Court in Doney confirmed that there is no such judicial power. A slightly different notion current sometime ago was that a trial judge had power to direct an acquittal where the evidence had a tenuous character or an inherent weakness or vagueness. In Doney, the High Court ruled that there is no such judicial power. "If there is evidence (even if tenuous or inherently weak or vague) which can be taken into account by the jury in its deliberations and that evidence is capable of supporting a verdict of guilty, the matter must be left to the jury for its decision. Or, to put the matter in more usual terms, a verdict of not guilty may be directed only if there is a defect in the evidence such that, taken at its highest, it will not sustain a verdict of guilty."

The reason given for the decision in Doney was "the traditional jury function" and a lack of statutory authority for enlarging the powers of a trial judge at its expense.

Another course relevant in this context occasionally taken is a "Prasad invitation". This is a judicial invitation to jury to acquit an accused notwithstanding that there is evidence upon which the accused could lawfully be convicted, because the evidence is so lacking in weight and reliability that the jury could not safely convict on it: R v Prasad (1979) 23 SASR 161; mentioned in Gant v R [2017] VSCA 104 and ADG v R [2011] VSCA 430 (in both jury had rejected the invitation and in due course convicted); also R v Smart [2010] VSCA 33 and R v Huynh [2006] VSCA 213. Ordinarily there will be brief directions to jury pointing to the law, difficulties in prosecution case and leaving the options of unanimous acquittal or that the case continue.

Sometimes an acquittal is judicially directed when, before a jury has been empanelled, the Crown announces that no evidence will be led. This procedure has a statutory basis in Victoria: Criminal Procedure Act s.241(2). It also sometimes occurs that the Crown, after leading some evidence, consents to the direction of an acquittal after some plea negotiation or encountering unexpected difficulties fatal to the prosecution case.

> Juries: empanelment

version 23 June 2017

Jury commissioner procures panels after exercising power to excuse: Juries Act s.8. In the event of insufficient jurors, it is permitted to "pray a tales", rare in practice: Juries Act s.41: R v Anderson [1996] VicRp 94, [1996] 2 VR 663.

Challenge to the array. Objection to the method of jury procurement, rare in practice: R v Badenoch [2004] VSCA 95; R v Greer (1996) 84 A Crim R 482.

Calling over. Juries Act s.31. The "proper officer" is the Judge's associate: R v Katsuno [1998] 4 VR 414; R v Weston [1999] VSC 185. Calling by number: R v Strawhorn [2006] VSC 251.

Court information for panel
Juries Act s.32.
(1) The court must inform the panel, or cause them to be informed, of the following information--
(a) the type of action or charge;
(b) the name of the accused in a criminal trial or the names of the parties in a civil trial;
(c) the names of the principal witnesses expected to be called in the trial;
(d) the estimated length of the trial;
(e) any other information that the court thinks relevant.

Excuses by Court. Juries Act s.32.  There is no necessity for public disclosure of the contents of any written material: R v Lewis [2000] VSCA 140. The provision requires any excusing to precede empanelment: R v Panozzo [2003] VSCA 184, (2003) 8 VR 548.

Selecting potential jurors from panel. Juries Act s. 36. R v Dooley [1972] VicRp 7,[1972] VR 55 - occupations required. There is no entitlement to question potential jurors. Criminal trial is by 12 jurors: Juries Act s.22. There is power to empanel 15 jurors for reasons such as the expected length of trial, with any excess number ultimately remaining corrected by ballot: ss. 23, 48; including for Commonwealth offences Ng v R [2003] HCA 20, (2003) 217 CLR 521.
Juries Act s.39(1). Each person arraigned is allowed to challenge peremptorily - (a) 6 potential jurors, if only 1 person is arraigned in the trial; or (b) 5 potential jurors, if 2 persons are arraigned in the trial; or (c) 4 potential jurors, if 3 or more persons are arraigned in the trial. In a criminal trial, each peremptory challenge must be made as the potential juror comes to take his or her seat and before he or she takes it: s.39(2). On the application of a person arraigned, the court must permit a legal practitioner who represents the person, or the clerk of the legal practitioner, to assist the person in making a peremptory challenge: s.39(3).
Trial judges in Victoria should follow a practice that provides the accused with a reasonable opportunity to see the prospective juror’s face, before they enter the jury box; there is no prescribed practice; the opportunity may be provided by employing the traditional practice of a ‘parade’ by the prospective jurors past the dock or by directing prospective jurors, whose name or number is called, to stand up and turn to face the accused in the dock before proceeding to enter the jury box, or by some other procedure which satisfies the objective of enabling a visual inspection of the potential jurors": Daniels (a Pseudonym) v R [2017] VSCA 159; Cook v R [2016] VSCA 231; Bequiri v R [2017] VSCA 112; Theodoropoulos v R [2015] VSCA 364.
The right of peremptory challenge is of fundamental nature and non-amenable to infringement, interference or limitation: R v Cherry [2005] VSCA 89; Johns v R [1979] HCA 33, (1979) 141 CLR 409. The usual practice is challenge by the accused but where there is good reason, the accused may authorise counsel to challenge: Sonnet v R [2010] VSCA 315.
Though rare in practice, challenge for cause is unlimited: Juries Act s s.34,.37,.40. A ground is bias: Murphy v R [1989] HCA 28, (1989) 167 CLR 94; R v Dooley [1972] VicRp 7, [1972] VR 55; R v Hall [1971] VicRp 35, [1971] VR 293.
Prosecution challenge. Peremptory challenge, known as stand aside, are allowed to the same total number available to accused: Juries Act s.38. "Vetting" by the Crown has not occurred since 1999: In Katsuno v R [1999] HCA 50, (1999) 199 CLR 40, the High Court held the manner in which it was being practised contravened the legislation then in force.
Court may determine that a person not perform jury service. Juries Act s.12.
(1) If a court thinks it is just and reasonable to do so, the court may, on its own motion, or on an application under sub-section (2), order that a person not perform jury service--
(a) for the whole or part of the jury service period; or
(b) for a longer period specified by the court; or
(c) permanently.
Inherent powers to stand down a juror until time jurors sworn: R v Searle [1993] VicRp 80, [1993] 2 VR 367.

Swearing jury. Juries Act s.42.

Mixed pleas before jury. Where before a jury an accused pleads not guilty to a charge but guilty to another charge, the accused is by the plea of guilty found guilty of that charge and only the charge to which there has been a plea of not guilty requires jury verdict: Criminal Procedure Act s.235B; Wilson v R [2015] VSCA 211

Panel member or juror must not make enquiries about trial matters. An offence to do so: Juries Act s.78A; Martin v R [2010] VSCA 153.

> Juries: empaneled to verdict or discharge without

version 16 May 2017

Receipt of jury enquiries. R v Stretton [1982] VicRp 21, [1982] VR 251.

Investigation of occurrences involving a juror. R v Vjestica [2008] VSCA 47, (2008) 182 A Crim R 350; R v ALH [2003] VSCA 129, (2003) 6 VR 276; R v Ousley [1996] VicSC 249, (1996) 87 A Crim R 326 (threat to juror's employment); R v Zampaglione [1981] VicSc 157, (1981) 6 A Crim R 287.

Discharge of a juror
Juries Act s. 43.
A judge may, during a trial, discharge a juror without discharging the whole jury if--
(a) it appears to the judge that the juror is not impartial; or
(b) the juror becomes incapable of continuing to act as a juror; or
(c) the juror becomes ill; or
(d) it appears to the judge that, for any other reason, the juror should not continue to act as a juror.
44. Continuation of trial with reduced jury
(1) Subject to sub-sections (2) and (3), if a juror dies or is discharged during a trial, the judge may direct that the trial shall continue with the remaining jurors...
(3) A criminal trial cannot continue with less than 10 jurors.
(4) The verdict of the remaining jurors is a sufficient verdict.

R v Chung [2010] VSCA 39; R v Arnott [2009] VSCA 299; R v Sharp [2005] VSCA 44. Discharge of individual juror losing impartiality: R v Goodall [2007] VSCA 63; R v Ali [2004] VSCA 58. Wu v R [1999] HCA 52, (1999) 199 CLR 40 on similar NSW provision.

Views and inspections. Evidence Act s.54; Ha v R [2014] VSCA 335.

Questioning by jurors
. R v Lo Presti [1992] VicRp 51, [1992] 1 VR 696.

Note taking. R v Sandford (1994) 72 A Crim R 160.

Provision to jury of transcript from trial. Criminal Procedure Act s.223.

Exhibits and materials
. Exhibits are ordinarily produced before the jury and, subject to practicability and safety, sent in with the jury deliberation. The jury may be permitted to have materials other than exhibits which have arisen consequent to a directions hearing, also transcripts, addresses, charts, judge's summing up etc. As to use of charts and transcripts etc to understand the evidence, see also Butera v R [1987] HCA 58, (1987) 164 CLR 180; R v Gose [2009] VSCA 66; R v Thompson [2008] VSCA 144; R v O'Neill [2001] VSCA 227.

Directions of judge. Prior to retirement a jury is directed by the trial judge on the law, the facts and other matters: Jury Directions Act 2015 sections 65- 67; Criminal Procedure Act s.238. Legal practitioners must request that particular directions be given or not given: Jury Directions Ac t 2015 sections12-15. A jury must not be directed as to the sequence of their deliberations: Bouch v R [2017] VSCA 86; Stanton v R [2003] HCA 29, (2003) 198 ALR 41.

Court may allow jury to separate after retiring to consider verdict: Juries Act s.50. Undertaking on oath: R v Clarke [2002] VSCA 184; R v Taylor [1996] VicSC 197, (1996) 86 A Crim R 293. Only one occasion needed: R v Patton [1998] 1 VR 7.

Perseverance directions after prolonged deliberation. Sometimes known as the "exhortation": Black v R [1993] HCA 71, (1993) 179 CLR 44; R v Muto [1995] VICSC 214, [1996] 1 VR 336; R v Rajakaruna [2004] VSCA 114, (2004) 8 VR 340.

Jury questions and communications. Ordinarily to be asked and answered in open court: Hughes v R [2014] VSCA 4; R v Cavkic [2009] VSCA 43, (2005) 155 A Crim R 275, 289; R v Black [2007] VSCA 61, (2007) 15 VR 551; Sonnet v R [2010] VSCA 315. Should the judge out of court receive communication from the jury which raises something unconnected with the trial, for example a request that some message be sent to a relative of one of the jurors, it can simply be dealt with without any reference to counsel. Otherwise in almost all cases the fact and content of the communication should be stated in open court. Exceptionally, if the communication discloses information which the jury need not and perhaps should not have disclosed, the communication generally should be dealt with by announcing the fact of the communication and so much of the communication as is unexceptionable, keeping back however any information which ought not to have been revealed, though even then particular circumstances may require otherwise: LLW v R [2012] VSCA 54; MJR v R [2011] VSCA 374.

Disagreement and majority verdicts
Juries Act s.46. Failure to reach unanimous verdict in criminal trials
(1) In this section, "majority verdict" means--
(a) if, at the time of returning its verdict, the jury consists of 12 jurors--a verdict on which 11 of them agree;
(b) if, at the time of returning its verdict, the jury consists of 11 jurors--a verdict on which 10 of them agree;
(c) if, at the time of returning its verdict, the jury consists of 10 jurors--a verdict on which 9 of them agree.
(2) If, after deliberating for at least 6 hours a jury in a criminal trial--
(a) is unable to agree on its verdict; or
(b) has not reached a unanimous verdict--
the court may discharge the jury or, subject to sub-sections (3) and (4), take a majority verdict as the verdict of the jury.
(3) A court must refuse to take a majority verdict if it considers that the jury has not had a period of time for deliberation that the court thinks reasonable, having regard to the nature and complexity of the trial
(4) A verdict that the accused is guilty or not guilty of murder or treason or an offence against a law of the Commonwealth must be unanimous.
(5) If in a criminal trial--
(a) it is possible for a jury to return a verdict of not guilty of the offence charged but guilty of another offence with which the accused has not been charged; and
(b) the jury reaches a verdict (unanimously or by majority verdict) that the accused is not guilty of the offence charged; and
(c) the jury is unable to agree on its verdict on the alternative offence after a cumulative total of at least 6 hours deliberation on both offences--
a majority verdict on the alternative offence may be taken as the verdict of the jury.

Majority verdict and directions: R v Muto [1996] VicRp 21, [1996] 1 VR 336; HM v R [2013] VSCA 100; R v Di Mauro [2001] VSCA 52. Not permissible for Commonwealth offences: Constitution of Australia s.80; Cheatle v R [1993] HCA 44, (1993) 177 CLR 541; Juries Act s.46(4). The calculation of the six hours includes time spent listening to redirection, travelling time such as moving from the courtroom to the jury room where the two are not adjacent and time having light lunch in the jury room. What must be excluded are discrete and substantial breaks from the performance of the jury's task. The only examples that commonly occur are retirement overnight and adjournment for lunch: R v VST [2003] VSCA 35; R v Doherty [1999] VSCA 165.

On disagreement, any verdict on other count should still be taken, for instance an acquittal on a greater alternative: R v Ashman [1957] VicRp 51, [1957] VR 364.

Taking verdict. Discretion to take separately: R v Jenkins [2002] VSCA 224; R v Appleby (1996) 88 A Crim R 456; R v Mitchell [1971] VicRp 5, [1971] VR 46. In Victoria, if no majority verdict has been left open, the Judge's Associate asks the jury foreperson: "Have you agreed upon your verdict" then, provided response has been affirmative, "Do you find X guilty or not guilty on the count of...". Upon conclusion of taking verdict (or disagreement) on all counts, the Associate says "... and; that is the verdict of you all". The enquiry as to verdict unanimity: R v Rajakaruna [2004] VSCA 114, (2004) 8 VR 340. When the jury have been told that a majority verdict may be taken, the associate should conclude by saying "and that is the verdict of not less than 11 (or as the case may be) of you": R v Muto [1996] VicRp 21, [1996] 1 VR 336.

Acceptance or otherwise of verdict. R v Ciantar [2006] VSCA 263, (2006) 16 VR 26 (jury mistake); R v Tappy [1960] VicRp 21,[1960] VR 137.

Aggravating sentencing facts. Where sentence maximum varies with the presence of defined aggravating sentencing facts and there is a trial, the finding must be by the jury: Kingswell v R [1985] HCA 72, (1985) 159 CLR 264; R v Meaton [1986] HCA 27, (1986) 160 CLR 359.

Finality of verdict. Gammage v R [1969] HCA 68, (1969) 122 CLR 444; Hsing v Rankin [1978] HCA 56, (1978) 141 CLR 182; R v Booth [1983] VicRp 4, [1983] VR 39.

Discharge without verdict. Must be high degree of need: Crofts v R [1996] HCA 22, (1996) 186 CLR 427; Ahmed v R [2012] VSCA 76; R v Halliday [2009] VSCA 195, (2009) 23 VR 419; R v Johnson [2001] VSCA 242, (2001) 126 A Crim R 395; R v Boland [1974] VicRp 100,[1974] VR 849. May be on court's own motion: R v Sarek [1982] VicRp 99, [1982] VR 971.
Bad character exposed: Walker v R [2014] VSCA 177; R v Halliday [2009] VSCA 195, (2009) 23 VR 419; R v Hartwick [2005] VSCA 264, (2005) 14 VR 125.
Juror or jury bias: Webb v R [1994] HCA 30, (1994) 181 CLR 41; Percival v R [2015] VSCA 200; LA v R [2011] VSCA 293; R v Chung [2010] VSCA 39, (2010) 25 VR 221; R v Vjestica [2008] VSCA 47, (2008) 182 A Crim R 350; R v Goodall [2007] VSCA 63, (2007) 15 VR 673;R v ALH [2003] VSCA 129; R v Evans [1995] VICSC 113, (1995) 79 A Crim R 66.
Change of plea by co-accused, discharge of jury generally not warranted: R v Ferguson [2009] VSCA 198, (2009) 24 VR 531.

> Legal representation for accused

version 13 March 2013

Court order for legal representation for trial on indictment before a jury: Criminal Procedure Act s.197.

Power to adjourn or stay trial in aid of rights to legal aid and a fair trial: Slaveski v Smith [2012] VSCA 25.

> Motive to lie

version 16 May 2017

It is prohibited for the prosecution to argue or a judge to direct or comment that an accused has a special motive to lie: Hargraves R [2011] HCA 44, (2011) 245 CLR 257; Robinson v R [1991] HCA 38, (1991) 180 CLR 531; Drash v R [2012] VSCA 33; R v Franco [2006] VSCA 302.

It is prohibited for the prosecution to argue that the credibility an incriminating prosecution witness is enhanced because the witness has not been shown to have a motive to lie: Palmer v R [1998] HCA 2, (1998) 193 CLR 1; Drash v R [2012] VSCA 33; R v Farquharson [2009] VSCA 307; R v SAB [2008] VSCA 150; R v MMJ [2006] VSCA 226; R v Bajic [2005] VSCA 158, (2006) 12 VR 155; R v Cupid [2004] VSCA 183. However if by cross-examination of a prosecution witness or defence evidence, it is suggested that a prosecution witness has a motive to lie, the prosecutor is entitled to cross-examine the accused to establish that in so far as the inference of the suggested motive was based on facts in the knowledge of the accused, he had no basis for asserting the existence of those facts: R v HRA [2008] VSCA 56, R v SWC [2007] VSCA 201. It is open to an accused with a reasonable basis for doing so to suggest that an incriminating prosecution witness has a motive to lie: Where this occurs, the judge is required to direct jury that the credibility of the witness is not strengthened by the jury's rejection of the motive suggested: R v PFG [2006] VSCA 130; R v Noonan [1998] VSCA 8.

> Powers of Victoria Police

version 6 June 2017

Crimes Act ss.456AA-570 contain many sections dealing in detail with request name and address, arrest, warrants, search, interrogation, forensic-procedures, fingerprinting and more.

Some further powers are provided by Summary Offences Act including s.6 direction to move on for persons in public places in certain defined circumstances and subject to some stated exceptions; also some other powers of entry, search and arrest.

There are numerous other sources of Victoria Police powers. Some concern:

general powers: Victoria Police Act;

family violence safety notices or orders : Family Violence Protection Act.s.38, s 124;

personal safety intervention orders: Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act s.101;

Control of Weapons Act;

motor vehicles: Road Safety Act;

Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act;

Graffiti Protection Act;

Terrorism (Community Protection) Act police powers and preventative detention;

Bail: see Notes 4.


> Privilege

version 19 May 2017

Evidence is not to be adduced if the court finds that it is protected by certain Privileges: Evidence Act ss.117-134. The court to inform of rights to make such applications and objections: s.132.

Legal professional privilege: Depends on objection by the client. Evidence Act ss.117-126. As to limited effect of s.123, see DPP (Cth) v Galloway (a pseudonym) [2014] VSCA 104.

Journalist privilege relating to identity of informant: Evidence Act s.126K.

Religious privilege: A person who is or was a member of the clergy of any church or religious denomination: privilege concerning religious confession unless the communication involved in the religious confession was made for a criminal purpose: Evidence Act s.127.

Privilege against self-incrimination. In other proceedings: Evidence Act ss.128-128A, not for bodies corporate: s.187. X7 v Australian Crime Commission [2013] HCA 29, (2013) 248 CLR 92. Provision for certificate that evidence cannot be used against the person providing it: Spence v R [2016] VSCA 113. More generally see Notes 6.

Public interest: Evidence Act ss.129-131; Ahmet v Chief Commissioner of Police [2014] VSCA 265

Criminal case plea negotiations that fall short of formal offers: Ramjutton v R [2015] VSCA 309.

> Prosecution disclosure

version 3 June 2017

Pre committal hearing disclosure of prosecution case, including continuing obligation of disclosure: Criminal Procedure Act ss.107-117. Pre-trial disclosure, including continuing obligation of disclosure: Criminal Procedure Act ss.182-191. These prosecution disclosure requirements are supplemented by common law, as follows.

Duty to court to disclose exculpatory material: Kev v R [2015] VSCA 36; AJ v R [2011] VSCA 215; Mallard v R [2005] HCA 68, (2005) 224 CLR 125; R v Thomas (No 4) [2008] VSCA 107. But there is not a duty of disclosure necessarily applying to every one of the relevant papers within the possession, control or power of the prosecution: R v TSR [2002] VSCA 87, (2002) 5 VR 627.

Duty to court to disclose prior convictions or pending allegations concerning prosecution witness: R v Farquharson [2009] VSCA 307; R v Garofalo [1998] VSCA 145, [1999] 2 VR 625.

Duty to court to disclose that prosecution witness had received favourable treatment by the Crown in consideration of testimony against the accused: Grey v R [2001] HCA 65, (2001) 75 ALJR 1708.

The duties to disclose are primarily trial prosecutor's decision. They however apply to the prosecution generally, extending to any such matters unknown to trial prosecutor, for example within an investigator's knowledge and which come out post-trial: R v Farquharson [2009] VSCA 307.

It is good practice in general for the prosecution to inform the defence the identity of any witness from whom a statement in possession of the prosecution has been obtained: Lawless v R [1979] HCA 49, (1979) 142 CLR 659.

This page is www.justd/com/notes5.htm

page author
Don Just barrister
of Victorian Bar
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

1998-2017 Don Just
site case and statute links are AUSTLII, Vic Gov or others: see address bar