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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74235 Find in a Library
Title: Admissibility in Evidence of Computer Records and Other Documentary Statements - Report
Corporate Author: Western Australia Law Reform Cmssn
Australia
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 101
Sponsoring Agency: Western Australia Law Reform Cmssn
Perth, W.A. 6000, Australia
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: The admissibility of records produced by computers in Australian court proceedings is examined and recommendations based on a review of reforms in other jurisdictions are made.
Abstract: The present law in civil and criminal proceedings is reviewed. The Law Reform Commission recommends that a documentary statement should be admissible if it was made directly, or indirectly, or is derived from a person having personal knowledge of the matters dealt with by the statement. A documentary statement is defined as one which reproduces or is derived from information from one or more devices designed for and used for the purpose of recording, measuring, counting, or identifying information. Provisions should be made for the following safeguards and ancillary provisions: weight to be attached to the evidence, credibility of the person responsible for the statement, corroborative evidence, discretion to exclude a statement; and statements made or recorded for the purpose of, or in contemplation of, criminal proceedings. Withholding documents from a jury, inferences, production of documents in court, and production of a medical certificate should also be considered. Provisions relating to bankers' books should be amended to make it clear that they are merely a means of facilitating the production in court of copies of these books. Whether or not a particular statement in a book is admissible as evidence should be determined in accordance with the conditions of admissibility of documentary statements. The commission also recommends that the definition of bankers' books should be amended to ensure that modern methods of recording information by banks, including computers, are not excluded from the provisions relating to these documents. At present, it is not clear whether the rules of discovery, inspection, and production of documents apply to records maintained by computers and stored in an internal memory or on material such as tapes, discs, or cards, applicability depends on the interpretation of the word 'document.' The commission recommends that the law be clarified and brought into accord with modern conditions. Provision should be be made for the inspection of any such document by a printout in a legible form. Footnotes are provided. Appended material include suggested implementation of the recommendations, extracts from the Evidence Act 1906-1979, definition of a computer, and applicable laws in England, Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Also, the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission of Canada are provided.
Index Term(s): Australia; Computers; England; New Zealand; Rules of evidence
Note: Project Number 27
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=74235

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