Date01 July 2019
AuthorMichael Plaxton
Publication Date01 July 2019
EPJ853150 345..346 The International Journal of
Evidence & Proof
2019, Vol. 23(3) 345–346
ª The Author(s) 2019
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/1365712719853150
Michael Plaxton
University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Law reform and source material
Sexual History—Adverse Inferences—Video-recorded Evidence—Cross-
Examination—Expert Evidence—New Zealand
New Zealand Law Commission, Report 142: Second Review of the Evidence Act 2006—Te Arotake Tuarua
i te Evidence Act 2006: He Puka Kaupap (13 March 2019),
A review of New Zealand’s Evidence Act 2006. The report makes 27 recommendations for reform,
several concerning the rules of evidence in sexual and family violence cases. The report recommends
‘tighter controls’ on the admission of evidence of sexual history and sexual character, more flexibility
for complainants in family violence cases as to how their testimony is delivered, a requirement on judges
to intervene when they decide that the questioning of a witness is ‘unacceptable’ and the development of
jury instructions designed to address myths and misconceptions about sexual and family violence. The
report also recommended ‘a new provision to clarify that a court may regulate its procedures for giving
evidence in a manner that recognises tikanga Ma¯ori.’ The report makes a number of other, discrete
recommendations. These would, among other things, establish that evidence of a conviction gives rise to
a rebuttable (rather than conclusive) presumption that the individual convicted committed the offence;
‘clarify that judges may not draw an adverse inference of guilt from a defendant’s pre-trial silence’;
remove restrictions on defence counsel’s access to video-recorded interviews with complainants in
sexual and violent cases; and require expert witnesses to abide by a code of conduct when giving

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