: Sexual Offences and Evidence Law

Sexual Offences and Evidence Law

Benedict Bartl

In other law reform news, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI) has released its final report Tendency and coincidence evidence and Hoch’s case. The report calls for reforms to the admissibility of tendency and coincidence evidence. That is, evidence which goes to a pattern of behaviour or the character of the accused. Currently, the wording of Tasmania’s evidence laws means that separate allegations made by separate complainants will often be heard at separate trials, leading to reduced chance of conviction according to Terese Henning, co-author of the Report and university academic. If the TLRIs suggested amendments are adopted it will see more sexual assault cases able to hear related complaints at the same trial as well as allowing the jury to ultimately determine if the stories were concocted by the complainants or actually took place. With the introduction of uniform evidence law in a number of Australian jurisdictions, the Attorney-General Brian Wightman has passed on copies of the report to other Attorneys-General with discussion to follow at the April meeting of the Standing Council of Law and Justice.

BENEDICT BARTL is Solicitor and Liaison Officer with the Tenants’ Union of Tasmania.
(2012) 37(2) AltLJ 138
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