Victorian Current Acts

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Mandatory direction on use of evidence of incriminating conduct

    (1)     If the prosecution relies on evidence of conduct as evidence of incriminating conduct, the trial judge must direct the jury that—

        (a)     the jury may treat the evidence as evidence that the accused believed that he or she had committed the offence charged or an element of the offence charged, or that he or she had negated a defence to the offence charged, only if it concludes that—

              (i)     the conduct occurred; and

              (ii)     the only reasonable explanation of the conduct is that the accused held that belief; and

        (b)     even if the jury concludes that the accused believed that he or she had committed the offence charged, it must still decide, on the basis of the evidence as a whole, whether the prosecution has proved the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

    (2)     In giving a direction under this section, a trial judge need not refer to each act or omission of the accused.


Section 6 provides that a trial judge need not use any particular form of words in giving a direction to the jury. For example, in relation to the direction referred to in subsection (1)(a)(ii), if the evidence concerns an element of an offence, the trial judge could refer to "knew" rather than "believed" to better describe what the incriminating conduct, if accepted, may prove.

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