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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78734 Find in a Library
Title: Current Trends in the Law of Evidence
Journal: Sydney Law Review  Volume:8  Dated:(December 1977)  Pages:305-332
Author(s): J D Heydon
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 28
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This Australian article considers the hearsay rule and its exceptions, particularly regarding confessions; corroboration; evidence of identity; improperly obtained evidence; and the problem of the accused's record.
Abstract: The various forces influencing the law of evidence and its future in Australia are diverse and complex. Some proposed changes are intended to make more evidence admissible, as with hearsay reform; some to remove internal anomalies in the law, as with permitting a witness's previous statements to be evidence of the truth of the facts asserted; some to reduce jury confusion, as with corroboration reforms; and some to minimize jury prejudice, as with attempts to prevent disclosure of the accused's record. Overall, however, trends in evidentiary law must find some way of addressing the conflict between two contrasting perspectives of evidence presented at trial. One perspective believes that the sole purpose of the law of evidence should be to bring as much reliable evidence before the court as possible, with as little dislocation of the trial or inconvenience to parties, their advisers, and the court as possible. The other perspective believes that the law of evidence should have other goals, such as the disciplining of errant police officers; the protection of privacy and other human rights; the serving of the special interests of spouses, priests, doctors, journalists, etc. It may not be in the public interest for the latter perspective to win some victories, but the more it wins, the less principled and more complex the law will be in its application, and the less likely it will be to produce adjudications based upon available facts in the case. A total of 153 footnotes are listed.
Index Term(s): Australia; Confessions; Exclusionary rule; Hearsay evidence; Law reform; Rules of evidence
Note: Based on a paper delivered to the 6th Annual Judicial Conference, held at Hobart, January 25-27, 1977.
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