Law Notes > Monash University Law Notes > Evidence Law Notes

Hearsay Notes

This is a sample of our (approximately) 7 page long Hearsay notes, which we sell as part of the Evidence Law Notes collection, a D package written at Monash University in 2014 that contains (approximately) 86 pages of notes across 12 different documents.

Learn more about our Evidence Law Notes

The original file is a 'Word (Docx)' whilst this sample is a 'PDF' representation of said file. This means that the formatting here may have errors. The original document you'll receive on purchase should have more polished formatting.

Hearsay Revision

The following is a plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Evidence Law Notes. This text version has had its formatting removed so pay attention to its contents alone rather than its presentation. The version you download will have its original formatting intact and so will be much prettier to look at.

Hearsay Section 59(1) EA: Evidence of a previous representation made by a person is not admissible to prove the existence of a fact it can reasonably be supposed the person intended to assert by the representation. (2) Such a fact is referred to as an "asserted fact"


Is the evidence a previous representation?


Was it intended or unintended?
o The Court can look at the circumstances surrounding the representation to gauge intent s59(2A)
 Whether intention is present is an objective test
 Might look at the age of the person Walton
 Might look at whether it was a spontaneous reaction Benz Unintended representations are not hearsay Walton; Ratten; Benz o They are likely to have a higher degree of reliability e.g. "Hi John" vs "It's John" o However watch out for implied intended assertions e.g. "Hello Jane" to trick your parents into thinking it is someone else o An implied assertion of fact assumed in an intended express assertion (such as writing something down) may be said to be 'contained' within that intention Hannes

Was the evidence brought to prove the existence of a fact?


A previous representation is any representation made other than in the course of giving evidence in the proceedings Can be o express/implied s3 o inferred from conduct e.g. sign language, gestures o not intended by its maker to be communication to or seen by another person e.g. diary, letter o representation that for any reason is not communicated e.g. unsent email Wouldn't include internet history as this is not a previous representation by a person (no human interaction) Could be when someone has told them something May also relate to something a witness has said in the past

Can it reasonably be supposed that the person intended to assert the fact?


*go down the ranks

Examples Hearsay and inadmissible if tendered to prove that a statement was true Subramanian v Public Prosecutor Not hearsay and admissible if tendered to show that a statement was made and the fact it was made is relevant Subramanian o The fact that a statement was made is frequently relevant in considering the mental state and conduct of the witness. Link to s60 if appropriate (if the fact the statement is made is relevant for a non-hearsay purpose) Distinguish between evidence brought to show that a statement was made and evidence brought to prove a fact contained within that statement It is only hearsay if brought to prove the truth of a fact within the statement

Conclude: Because this evidence of a previous representation is being admitted to prove the existence of a fact that the person intended to assert, it is hearsay and is excluded under section 59 EA


If the evidence is hearsay, apply any exceptions

Remember your discretions 135, 136 o Even if the exclusions allow for the hearsay evidence to be admitted, a party can argue that it should be excluded because of the following: o The factors of s135: The court may refuse to admit evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger that the evidence might
 be unfairly prejudicial to a party; or
 be misleading or confusing; or
 cause or result in undue waste of time. o The factors of 137: In a criminal proceeding, the court must refuse to admit evidence adduced by the prosecutor if its probative value is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to the accused. o The factors of 136: The court may limit the use to be made of evidence if there is a danger that a particular use of the evidence might be unfairly prejudicial to a party; or be misleading or confusing. o Unreliability warning: The trial judge must if requested (unless there is a good reason not to) warn the jury about the dangers of hearsay evidence. The warning must identify the matters which may make it unreliable and warn them of the need for caution in accepting the evidence 165

Can't rely on exceptions if the person is not competent o 61(1) Can't use a previous representation to prove the existence of an asserted fact when the person who made the representation was not competent to give evidence under 13(1) (at the time the representation was made) o 61(2) but doesn't apply to a contemporaneous (argue this is quite strict) representation made by a person about his or her health, feelings, intention, knowledge or state of mind o 61(3) Assumed someone is competent. Burden of showing incompetence is on the party opposing the admission of the evidence Exceptions for representations relevant for a non-hearsay purpose 60 o 60(1) The hearsay rule does not apply to evidence of a previous representation that is able to be adduced for another purpose other than proof of an asserted fact
 That is, once it is admitted for a non-hearsay purpose, it can be used to prove that fact that is asserted in the representation

Example: Prior statements of witnesses put to them in cross-examination. They are admissible either as evidence of a prior inconsistent statement (credibility) or a prior consistent statement (credibility). These are now to be regarded as evidence of the facts they assert and not simply relevant to credit.

o 60(2) This section applies whether or not the person who made the

representation had personal knowledge of the asserted fact o 60(3) Section 60 applies to both first and second hearsay, but does not apply to admissions
 Thus, evidence of B that A told her that C had confessed is not admissible to prove the confession.
 Inserted as a response to Lee v The Queen

1. Is it "first-hand" hearsay?

****************************End Of Sample*****************************

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Evidence Law Notes.