New South Wales Consolidated Acts

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Improper questions

41 Improper questions

(1) The court must disallow a question put to a witness in cross-examination, or inform the witness that it need not be answered, if the court is of the opinion that the question (referred to as a
"disallowable question" )--
(a) is misleading or confusing, or
(b) is unduly annoying, harassing, intimidating, offensive, oppressive, humiliating or repetitive, or
(c) is put to the witness in a manner or tone that is belittling, insulting or otherwise inappropriate, or
(d) has no basis other than a stereotype (for example, a stereotype based on the witness's sex, race, culture, ethnicity, age or mental, intellectual or physical disability).
(2) Without limiting the matters the court may take into account for the purposes of subsection (1), it is to take into account--
(a) any relevant condition or characteristic of the witness of which the court is, or is made, aware, including age, education, ethnic and cultural background, gender, language background and skills, level of maturity and understanding and personality, and
(b) any mental, intellectual or physical disability of which the court is, or is made, aware and to which the witness is, or appears to be, subject, and
(c) the context in which the question is put, including--
(i) the nature of the proceeding, and
(ii) in a criminal proceeding--the nature of the offence to which the proceeding relates, and
(iii) the relationship (if any) between the witness and any other party to the proceeding.
(3) A question is not a disallowable question merely because--
(a) the question challenges the truthfulness of the witness or the consistency or accuracy of any statement made by the witness, or
(b) the question requires the witness to discuss a subject that could be considered distasteful to, or private by, the witness.
(4) A party may object to a question put to a witness on the ground that it is a disallowable question.
(5) However, the duty imposed on the court by this section applies whether or not an objection is raised to a particular question.
(6) A failure by the court to disallow a question under this section, or to inform the witness that it need not be answered, does not affect the admissibility in evidence of any answer given by the witness in response to the question.
Note : A person must not, without the express permission of a court, print or publish any question that the court has disallowed under this section--see section 195.

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