This is an extract of our Admission document, which we sell as part of our Evidence Law Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Otago students.
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Evidence: 28th September OUTLINE 10: ADMISSIONS: Used to be a really big deal, biggest exception to the hearsay rule. The way the Act has dealt with hearsay, freeing it up so much, admissions won't be the focus of lawyer's attention so much. S4 definition: In relation to a civil proceeding, (in criminal proceeding we'll be worried about statements), means a statement made by a person who is or becomes a party to the proceedings that is adverse to their case. If someone is going to say something adverse to their own position, it's probably reliable - can be the exception to the hearsay provisions. Now though, we're worried that someone might admit to committing a crime if they were pressured, lots of controls in the Act, but hearsay is not a problem when we get to confessions. All we have on admissions as a topic is s34. S34(1) kind of confirms the previous common law position. You can throw in evidence of an admission (statement of a party in civil proceedings that's damaging to their case), and you don't have to worry about the hearsay rule, opinion evidence rule or the previous consistent statement rule. It's really difficult to think of an occasion where you want to throw in an admission and you would need to think of the previous consistent statement rule... Unlikely to ever happen because they say something damaging, but it's an admission.. but why would they say the same thing in court?
When you can do this and not worry about those rules: When the evidence is given orally by a person who heard or perceived the defendant give an admission e.g. I was really negligent. Even though it was hearsay, call the witness and they can say yes I heard that. Or, when it's contained in a document, still covered by s34(1). S34(2), (3) look exciting but they aren't really. Lies Told by a Defendant: s124 which deals with lies, changes the common law in quite a big way. We've seen lies told by a defendant before in Tepu, in which the CA said the Crown can offer evidence (lies by a criminal evidence) of pre trial lies told by a defendant about this case to the cops, and they can do this without worrying about s38's ban on veracity evidence about a defendant. Mahoney didn't like Tepu, CA shouldn't have allowed this. Defendant's statements, reliability rule - how do you show a lie was reliable?
It used to be a big reason for successful criminal appeals when a Judge would talk to the jury about the lies and say something that could be interpreted as allowing the jury to use the lies to help determine that he was guilty. What they were supposed to say was 'oh, the accused told a lie, you can use this to assess the defendant's veracity, can't use it to prove guilt overall'. S124 changes this. It deals with a criminal proceeding, prosecution alleging that the defendant has lied either before or during a proceeding. First of all, judge under s124(2) doesn't need to give any specific direction, but then if the judge is concerned that the jury may place undue weight (s124(3)) on the lie told by the defendant, then the judge must under (3) follow this direction:
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