Rules of Evidence









Evidence that is not adduced from its original source witness is generally inadmissible as hearsay. The general rule in Section 59 is that a person cannot assert a fact that they were told by someone else. The fact alleged as hearsay, even if stated to the court, remains outside the court’s reach. This applies to documents also, so that the content can only be considered by the court if the author themselves testifies as to what it says. There are, however, a great many exceptions which need to be understood.


It is commonly thought in error by non-layers that all evidence needs to be in the form of original observations from first hand eyewitnesses. This is an error committed even by circumstance investigators who need to know better. While this is always the strongest evidence, as shown in following pages there are exceptions. When conducting enquiries it is suggested that the best approach is to obtain all evidence available and ensure the sources are nominated. Dissection between the admissible and inadmissible evidence can be done later as court proceedings require affidavits rather than mere signed statements.




All statutory sections from unspecified Acts, are sections from a model Act of the Commonwealth Parliament as described on the first page of this chapter, and should be replicated as described in each of the related Acts of each State and Territory. (Jurisdiction to regulate the rules of evidence exists in the States and Territories and not in the Commonwealth).