When is a hearsay statement admissable?
1) There are reasonable assurances that the statement is reliable
2) The maker of the statement is unavailable as a witness
3) undue expense or delay would be caused if the maker of the statement were required to be a witness.
What are some circumstances that demonstrate reliability of a hearsay statement?
- nature of the statement
- contents of the statement
- circumstances relating to the making of the statement
- Circumstances relating to the veracity of the person making the statement
- Circumstances relating to the accuracy of the observation of the person
What is the definition of justified?
means that the person is not guilty of an offence and is not liable civilly.
What is the definition of protected from criminal responsibility?
means the person is not guilty of an offence but civil liability may still arise.
What is held for children under 10 years of age?
a child aged under 10 years has an absolute defence to any charge brought against them. Even though a child cannot be convicted, you still have to establish whether or not they are guilty.
What is held for children between 10 and 14?
it must be shown that the child knew their act was wrong or contrary to law. If this knowledge cannot be shown, the child cannot be criminally liable for the offence.
What is the case law regarding age?
The best evidence possible in the circumstances should be adduced by the prosecution in proof of the victims age.
(R v Forrest and Forrest)
What are the prosecution steps for children or YP charged with murder/manslaughter?
Charges are filed in District Court, first appearance occurs before the Youth Court and the case then transfers to the High Court for trial and sentencing
What is the general rule as to justification (s20)?
All the common law defences are retained, so long as they are not inconsistent with the Crimes Act or any other enactment
What is the general rule of prosecution for child offenders?
All child offenders will be referred to the Care and Protection Coordinator until they reach the age of 14 years.