Patterns of Sexual Behaviour: The Law of Evidence: Back to the Future in Australia and England

Q.C Felicity Gerry, Catarina Sjolin, Gregor URBAS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A recent Victorian Court of Appeal ruling [in Australia] has sparked concerns that a clamp down on the way child abuse cases are handled could thwart convictions. The Court of Appeal justices ruled only cases that are "remarkably" similar would go before the same jury, making it harder for allegations from multiple complainants to be heard together. There are concerns that this will reduce the number of convictions for sexual offences, especially for those against children. This article explores the approach in England and Wales, and Australia to evidence of a pattern of behaviour, focussing on when it is adduced in cases involving sexual abuse. We first consider the shared common law history of the two jurisdictions before exploring how common law and legislative changes have led to surprisingly different positions in the two countries. We conclude by suggesting a simpler and more rational approach which has started to emerge and could be adopted in both countries, and indeed should be considered in any jurisdiction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-65
Number of pages37
JournalInternational Commentary on Evidence
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Fingerprint

common law
jurisdiction
appeal
sexual offense
Law
sexual violence
evidence
abuse
justice
history

Cite this

Felicity Gerry, Q.C ; Sjolin, Catarina ; URBAS, Gregor. / Patterns of Sexual Behaviour: The Law of Evidence: Back to the Future in Australia and England. In: International Commentary on Evidence. 2013 ; Vol. 11, No. 1. pp. 29-65.
@article{4ba4aa32413f4f1a89df832c1252c7e1,
title = "Patterns of Sexual Behaviour: The Law of Evidence: Back to the Future in Australia and England",
abstract = "A recent Victorian Court of Appeal ruling [in Australia] has sparked concerns that a clamp down on the way child abuse cases are handled could thwart convictions. The Court of Appeal justices ruled only cases that are {"}remarkably{"} similar would go before the same jury, making it harder for allegations from multiple complainants to be heard together. There are concerns that this will reduce the number of convictions for sexual offences, especially for those against children. This article explores the approach in England and Wales, and Australia to evidence of a pattern of behaviour, focussing on when it is adduced in cases involving sexual abuse. We first consider the shared common law history of the two jurisdictions before exploring how common law and legislative changes have led to surprisingly different positions in the two countries. We conclude by suggesting a simpler and more rational approach which has started to emerge and could be adopted in both countries, and indeed should be considered in any jurisdiction.",
author = "{Felicity Gerry}, Q.C and Catarina Sjolin and Gregor URBAS",
year = "2013",
doi = "10.1515/ice-2014-0012",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
pages = "29--65",
journal = "International Commentary on Evidence",
issn = "1554-4567",
publisher = "Walter de Gruyter GmbH",
number = "1",

}

Patterns of Sexual Behaviour: The Law of Evidence: Back to the Future in Australia and England. / Felicity Gerry, Q.C; Sjolin, Catarina; URBAS, Gregor.

In: International Commentary on Evidence, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2013, p. 29-65.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Patterns of Sexual Behaviour: The Law of Evidence: Back to the Future in Australia and England

AU - Felicity Gerry, Q.C

AU - Sjolin, Catarina

AU - URBAS, Gregor

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - A recent Victorian Court of Appeal ruling [in Australia] has sparked concerns that a clamp down on the way child abuse cases are handled could thwart convictions. The Court of Appeal justices ruled only cases that are "remarkably" similar would go before the same jury, making it harder for allegations from multiple complainants to be heard together. There are concerns that this will reduce the number of convictions for sexual offences, especially for those against children. This article explores the approach in England and Wales, and Australia to evidence of a pattern of behaviour, focussing on when it is adduced in cases involving sexual abuse. We first consider the shared common law history of the two jurisdictions before exploring how common law and legislative changes have led to surprisingly different positions in the two countries. We conclude by suggesting a simpler and more rational approach which has started to emerge and could be adopted in both countries, and indeed should be considered in any jurisdiction.

AB - A recent Victorian Court of Appeal ruling [in Australia] has sparked concerns that a clamp down on the way child abuse cases are handled could thwart convictions. The Court of Appeal justices ruled only cases that are "remarkably" similar would go before the same jury, making it harder for allegations from multiple complainants to be heard together. There are concerns that this will reduce the number of convictions for sexual offences, especially for those against children. This article explores the approach in England and Wales, and Australia to evidence of a pattern of behaviour, focussing on when it is adduced in cases involving sexual abuse. We first consider the shared common law history of the two jurisdictions before exploring how common law and legislative changes have led to surprisingly different positions in the two countries. We conclude by suggesting a simpler and more rational approach which has started to emerge and could be adopted in both countries, and indeed should be considered in any jurisdiction.

U2 - 10.1515/ice-2014-0012

DO - 10.1515/ice-2014-0012

M3 - Article

VL - 11

SP - 29

EP - 65

JO - International Commentary on Evidence

JF - International Commentary on Evidence

SN - 1554-4567

IS - 1

ER -