Victorian Current Acts

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Direction on significant forensic disadvantage

    (1)     Defence counsel may request under section 12 that the trial judge direct the jury on forensic disadvantage experienced by the accused.

    (2)     The trial judge may direct the jury as referred to in subsection (1) only if the trial judge is satisfied that the accused has experienced a significant forensic disadvantage.

    (3)     In giving a direction referred to in subsection (1), the trial judge—

        (a)     must inform the jury of—

              (i)     the nature of the disadvantage experienced by the accused; and

              (ii)     the need to take the disadvantage into account when considering the evidence; and

        (b)     must not say, or suggest in any way, to the jury that—

              (i)     it would be dangerous or unsafe to convict the accused; or

S. 39(3)(b)(ii) amended by No. 37/2017 s. 4.

              (ii)     the victim's evidence should be scrutinised with great care.


Section 14 requires the trial judge to give this direction, if requested, unless there are good reasons for not doing so. Section 39(2) qualifies the threshold for giving a requested direction. Section 16 requires the trial judge to give a direction if the trial judge considers that there are substantial and compelling reasons for doing so.

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