New South Wales Consolidated Acts

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The coincidence rule

98 The coincidence rule

(1) Evidence that 2 or more events occurred is not admissible to prove that a person did a particular act or had a particular state of mind on the basis that, having regard to any similarities in the events or the circumstances in which they occurred, or any similarities in both the events and the circumstances in which they occurred, it is improbable that the events occurred coincidentally unless--
(a) the party seeking to adduce the evidence gave reasonable notice in writing to each other party of the party's intention to adduce the evidence, and
(b) the court thinks that the evidence will, either by itself or having regard to other evidence adduced or to be adduced by the party seeking to adduce the evidence, have significant probative value.
Note : One of the events referred to in subsection (1) may be an event the occurrence of which is a fact in issue in the proceeding.
(1A) To avoid doubt, subsection (1) includes the use of evidence from 2 or more witnesses claiming they are victims of offences committed by a person who is a defendant in a criminal proceeding to prove, on the basis of similarities in the claimed acts or the circumstances in which they occurred, that the defendant did an act in issue in the proceeding.
(2) Subsection (1) (a) does not apply if--
(a) the evidence is adduced in accordance with any directions made by the court under section 100, or
(b) the evidence is adduced to explain or contradict coincidence evidence adduced by another party.
Note : Other provisions of this Act, or of other laws, may operate as exceptions to the coincidence rule.

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