New South Wales Consolidated Acts

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EVIDENCE ACT 1995 - SECT 20

Comment on failure to give evidence

20 Comment on failure to give evidence

(1) This section applies only in a criminal proceeding for an indictable offence.
(2) The judge or any party (other than the prosecutor) may comment on a failure of the defendant to give evidence. However, unless the comment is made by another defendant in the proceeding, the comment must not suggest that the defendant failed to give evidence because the defendant was, or believed that he or she was, guilty of the offence concerned.
(3) The judge or any party (other than the prosecutor) may comment on a failure to give evidence by a person who, at the time of the failure, was:
(a) the defendant's spouse or de facto partner, or
(b) a parent or child of the defendant.
(4) However, unless the comment is made by another defendant in the proceeding, a comment of a kind referred to in subsection (3) must not suggest that the spouse, de facto partner, parent or child failed to give evidence because:
(a) the defendant was guilty of the offence concerned, or
(b) the spouse, de facto partner, parent or child believed that the defendant was guilty of the offence concerned.
(5) If:
(a) 2 or more persons are being tried together for an indictable offence, and
(b) comment is made by any of those persons on the failure of any of those persons or of the spouse or de facto partner, or a parent or child, of any of those persons to give evidence,
the judge may, in addition to commenting on the failure to give evidence, comment on any comment of a kind referred to in paragraph (b).



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