R v Connell – Hearsay

This appeal raised the issue of how to deal with a hearsay application where the Complainant was deceased .

The complainants were his two step-daughters G & C, after providing an ABE interview G committed suicide. She left a suicide note which was to figure in the trial, part of it read “I can’t do this any more, the stress from the current situation is too much to handle” and “make sure that bastard rotts (sic) in hell for what he has done to me and C”.

The defence submitted the ABE interview and note amounted to hearsay and should not be admitted, although G was dead and her evidence potentially admissible under s116(2)(a) her death was caused by the person in support of whose case it was sought to give the statement in evidence, and was therefore inadmissible under s116(5)(a)

Held: the argument in relation to s116(5) fails as a matter of statutory interpretation. S116(2)(a) identified the person whose evidence is relied upon as ‘the relevant person’. S116(5)(a) refers to ‘person in support of whose case’ is sought to give the statement in evidence. Such a person is not described as the relevant person, the subsection applies to a party in the trial. The position may be different under s116(2)(c) but so far as s116(2)(a) is concerned, the person referred to in s116(5) will be the defendant or someone acting on his or her behalf. In any event the Recorder was entitled to find that G did not kill herself to avoid giving evidence.

The Court of Appeal again emphasised that it would only interfere if the decision reached was outside the band of legitimate decisions available.


Categories: Caselaw

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