(1) This section applies if a witness objects to giving particular evidence, or evidence on a particular matter, on the ground that the evidence may tend to prove that the witness:
(a) has committed an offence against or arising under an Australian law or a law of a foreign country; or
(b) is liable to a civil penalty.
(2) The court must determine whether or not there are reasonable grounds for the objection.
(3) Subject to subsection (4), if the court determines that there are reasonable grounds for the objection, the court is not to require the witness to give the evidence, and is to inform the witness:
(a) that the witness need not give the evidence unless required by the court to do so under subsection (4); and
(b) that the court will give a certificate under this section if:
(i) the witness willingly gives the evidence without being required to do so under subsection (4); or
(ii) the witness gives the evidence after being required to do so under subsection (4); and
(c) of the effect of such a certificate.
(4) The court may require the witness to give the evidence if the court is satisfied that:
(a) the evidence does not tend to prove that the witness has committed an offence against or arising under, or is liable to a civil penalty under, a law of a foreign country; and
(b) the interests of justice require that the witness give the evidence.
(5) If the witness either willingly gives the evidence without being required to do so under subsection (4), or gives it after being required to do so under that subsection, the court must cause the witness to be given a certificate under this section in respect of the evidence.
(6) The court is also to cause a witness to be given a certificate under this section if:
(a) the objection has been overruled; and
(b) after the evidence has been given, the court finds that there were reasonable grounds for the objection.
(7) In any proceeding in an Australian court:
(a) evidence given by a person in respect of which a certificate under this section has been given; and
(b) evidence of any information, document or thing obtained as a direct or indirect consequence of the person having given evidence;
cannot be used against the person. However, this does not apply to a criminal proceeding in respect of the falsity of the evidence.
(8) Subsection (7) has effect despite any challenge, review, quashing or calling into question on any ground of the decision to give, or the validity of, the certificate concerned.
(9) If a defendant in a criminal proceeding for an offence is given a certificate under this section, subsection (7) does not apply in a proceeding that is a retrial of the defendant for the same offence or a trial of the defendant for an offence arising out of the same facts that gave rise to that offence.
(10) In a criminal proceeding, this section does not apply in relation to the giving of evidence by a defendant, being evidence that the defendant:
(a) did an act the doing of which is a fact in issue; or
(b) had a state of mind the existence of which is a fact in issue.
(11) A reference in this section to doing an act includes a reference to failing to act.
(12) If a person has been given a certificate under a prescribed State or Territory provision in respect of evidence given by the person in a proceeding in a State or Territory court, the certificate has the same effect, in a proceeding to which this subsection applies, as if it had been given under this section.
(13) The following are prescribed State or Territory provisions for the purposes of subsection (12):
(a) section 128 of the Evidence Act 1995 of New South Wales;
(b) a provision of a law of a State or Territory declared by the regulations to be a prescribed State or Territory provision for the purposes of subsection (12).
(14) Subsection (12) applies to:
(a) a proceeding in relation to which this Act applies because of section 4; and
(b) a proceeding for an offence against a law of the Commonwealth or for the recovery of a civil penalty under a law of the Commonwealth, other than a proceeding referred to in paragraph (a).
Note 1: Bodies corporate cannot claim this privilege: see section 187.
Note 2: Clause 3 of Part 2 of the Dictionary sets out what is a civil penalty.
Note 4: Subsections (8) and (9) were inserted as a response to the decision of the High Court of Australia in Cornwell v The Queen  HCA 12 (22 March 2007).