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My legal matter concerning an application for a Domestic Violence Order was managed by Mr Thomas Allen. I am grateful for the outcome he obtained. Without Mr Allen and his ongoing support, I would be certain of a different result. It has been an extremely stressful period. Mr Allen’s astute ability to liaise on my behalf and his expertise was invaluable and for which I am grateful as I am now able to move forward. Thanking you
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Armstrong Legal and specifically Mr Thomas Allen for representing me in my recent case. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr Allen for the very professional delivery of his legal service. From the first time that I met Mr Allen, I was very impressed with his demeanour and delivery as he made me feel at ease knowing the severity of my case. Mr Allen not only gave me the possible positive outcomes of the case but also the realisation of the worst-case scenario as far as sentencing goes. … I will certainly be recommending Armstrong Legal to any of my friends or family needing representation in criminal matters. Thank you so very much.
Thank you for your representation and help. Fingers crossed for the next step and parole. I just want to say that from the first phone call to your office, your service has been outstanding and have put my mind at ease. I am glad I picked your number to ring.
Thank you Armstrong Legal, the lawyers that have helped over the past 3 years but more importantly, thank you to Thomas Allen for the major part you and Mr Buckland played. Cannot thank you enough. Cheers.
Hi all. I would like to thank Ms Lisa Riley for all her help with my legal issues this past month. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and thanks to her expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the law, I came out almost unscathed. I have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Riley and Armstrong Legal if you need help. The service is amazing and the cost was very minimal for the great outcome. Thank you Lisa for helping me in the most difficult time.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. My whole life I was thrown away, you made me feel like I did mean something. I could not have asked for a better lawyer. Your compassion and love for your job is inspiring. Your upfront and honesty were muchly appreciated, you are a beautiful person. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for all the work you put in. I wish you all the best for the future and I will be recommending you to everyone I know. You're amazing!!!!
I just wanted to thank you for representing me on Monday, I was overjoyed & relieved with the outcome. I don’t think it could have gone any better. All the best, I hope you got to celebrate this one instead after work, you forever made a difference in my life.
I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
The Hearsay Rule
The prohibition on inadmissible hearsay is one of the most well-known rule of evidence. However, the hearsay rule is often misunderstood. The prohibition on hearsay evidence is contained in Section 59 of the Commonwealth Evidence Act, which states that ‘evidence of a previous representation made by a person is not admissible to prove the existence of a fact it can reasonably be supposed that the person intended to assert by the representation.’
A simpler way to explain the prohibition on hearsay is that witnesses are only allowed to give evidence of things which they themselves have seen, heard or otherwise perceived
What is inadmissible hearsay?
Witnesses may give evidence of something they personally, saw, heard or experienced. They are not allowed to give evidence of something they only know because someone else told them.
If person A is giving evidence in a proceeding where person B has been charged with a home invasion, it would be inadmissible hearsay for person A to tell the court “I know that person B invaded the home. Person C told me that she saw it happen.’
This evidence would be inadmissible hearsay because it relies on person C’s statement about what she has perceived to establish a fact that person A has no direct knowledge of.
Why does the hearsay rule exist?
The hearsay rule is based on the following principles:
- Statements made out of court are not made under oath or affirmation and so cannot be given the same weight as evidence that has been given under oath;
- An out-of-court statement that is repeated in court cannot be tested during cross-examination. Its accuracy, therefore, cannot be evaluated;
- When statements made out of court are repeated in court there is the possibility of exaggeration, fabrication, distortion or inaccuracy;
- Hearsay evidence is not what is known as the best evidence. The ‘best evidence’ rule essentially means that evidence should be given by the person most qualified to give it. If person C witnessed events relevant to the proceeding, under the best evidence rule, person C should be called as a witness.
Exceptions to the hearsay rule
The hearsay rule has a number of exceptions. The most important ones are summarised below.
Statements that are relevant for non-hearsay purposes
It is sometimes necessary for a witness in a criminal proceeding to give evidence of what another person said for a non-hearsay purpose. Hearsay statements are admissible if they are given for a non-hearsay purpose (Section 60).
A non-hearsay purpose is when a person’s statement is being repeated in court not to establish that it is true, but as evidence that the statement was made. For example, if person A is alleged to have made a threat to kill person B, person C may give evidence that they heard person A make the threat. This is because person C heard the threat and can attest to the fact that the threat was made. In this situation, the purpose of the evidence is to establish what was said, not to establish that the statement was true
Out of court admissions
Admissions made by a person out of court are admissible as evidence under the Evidence Act (Section 81).
However, an admission made out of court is not admissible as evidence if it was made involuntarily – ie if it was induced by threats, violence or other oppressive or degrading conduct (Section 84). Therefore if an accused tells police that they committed an offence after the police have properly cautioned them and without being pressured to make an admission, the police officer who heard the admissions can give evidence of what was said. However, if an admission is made to police after threats, this evidence will not be admissible.
Private individuals can also give evidence of admissions another person has voluntarily made to them.
Where the maker of the statement is unavailable
Where the person who made the statement that is being repeated is unavailable to give evidence, their statement may be allowed into evidence under some circumstances (Section 65).
How Do Courts Avoid Hearing Hearsay Evidence?
There are a number of ways court ensure they do not hear hearsay evidence.
When oral evidence is being given in the form of examination-in-chief or cross-examination, lawyers generally avoid asking questions that tend to elicit hearsay statements in response. If a witness starts to say something that amounts to inadmissible hearsay, the other party will usually make an objection to the evidence and if the objection is accepted, the judge or magistrate will direct the lawyer to change the course of their questioning.
The contents of a document can also amount to inadmissible hearsay. It is common for a party to object to the tendering of a document in court if the author of the document has not been made available for cross-examination. This is because the statements contained in a document amount to hearsay unless the author of the document is present in court to adopt the contents of the document (by telling the court that they are its author and agreeing that the statements contained in it are true) and have the evidence tested through cross-examination.
Where a document contains hearsay statements but also contains other material that is admissible, a court may allow the document to be tendered provided the party seeking to tender it blacks out the hearsay passages.
It is common for people who give evidence in court regularly and are familiar with the hearsay rule to give their evidence in a somewhat artificial way in order to avoid breaking the hearsay rule. It is common to hear a police witness say something along the lines of ‘We spoke to the victim and she told us certain things…’ This is so that the court can get an idea of what the officer’s involvement in a matter has been, without having to hear statements that amount to inadmissible hearsay.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence and need legal advice or representation, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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