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Type: Journal article
Title: The Accused Persons Evidence Act 1882 of South Australia : a model for British criminal law?
Author: Taylor, G.
Citation: Common Law World Review, 2002; 31(4):332-373
Publisher: Vathek Publishing
Issue Date: 2002
ISSN: 1473-7795
Statement of
Greg Taylor
Abstract: Nowadays, it is considered natural that the accused should give evidence in a criminal trial, or at least have the right to do so. It is fairly well known, however, that this right has existed, in England and Wales, only since 1898. What is much less well known is that colonial legislatures enacted accused persons' evidence legislation before the English Act of 1898. This article deals with what appears to be the first general accused persons' evidence legislation enacted in the British Empire-the South Australian legislation of 1882, which, unlike some other colonial legislation, was not based on a draft English Bill. The article outlines the reasons for its enactment and its reception by the legal community in South Australia. Then, the influence of colonial accused persons' evidence legislation on the debate in England prior to 1898 is considered. The article closes by considering briefly whether the South Australian experience in the nineteenth century might assist in the consideration of changes in English law currently proposed.
Rights: © Vathek Publishing, 2002
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