The rule in Browne v Dunn in Australian criminal law: MWJ v R and R v MAP

McEwan, Alexandra (2006) The rule in Browne v Dunn in Australian criminal law: MWJ v R and R v MAP. James Cook University Law Review, 13. pp. 155-166.

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The common law rule in Browne v Dunn essentially is a rule of fairness. It ensures that witnesses have the opportunity to explain if the opposing party intends to later contradict or discredit them. Recently in Australia, doubt has been cast as to whether the rule applies in criminal proceedings. However, in MWJ v R, the High Court confirmed that the rule, with significant qualifications, applied to criminal cases. Possibly the most important qualifications are that the court must consider the nature and course of proceedings in evaluating the consequences of a failure to cross-examine on a point on which the party relies and that application of the rule must not displace the prosecution’s burden of proof. This paper examines the High Court’s interpretation of Browne v Dunn in MWJ v R and outlines some of the reasoning behind the doubt as to the rule’s application. To demonstrate the manner in which MWJ v R has been followed in Queensland, the recent decision of R v MAP is examined.

Item ID: 2629
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1321-1072
Keywords: criminal law
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Reproduced with permission from James Cook University Law Review.

Date Deposited: 07 May 2009 00:29
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180110 Criminal Law and Procedure @ 100%
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