Title

Out of the mouths of babes: The case for an increased use of expert evidence in rebuttal of sexual abuse allegations by child witnesses.

Date of this Version

6-1-2009

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Coyle, Ian R; Field, David; Wilson, Paul; Cuthbert, Catherine; Miller, Glen. (2009). Out of the mouths of babes: The case for an increased use of expert evidence in rebuttal of sexual abuse allegations by child witnesses. Criminal Law Journal, 33 (3), 139-164.

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2009 HERDC submission. FoR code: 1801

© Copyright Thomson Reuters, 2009

Abstract

When the "whole truth" of a matter is not sought, miscarriages of justice occur. When legislative and administrative procedures interact to prevent the whole truth of a matter being sought, miscarriages of justice are all but guaranteed. In this article, the authors argue that the common law and legislative and procedural frameworks against which allegations of child sexual abuse are investigated in Australia preclude the whole truth of the matter being sought, even though it may be wanted. Well-meaning attempts by legislators to shield vulnerable witnesses from aggressive and hectoring cross-examination on behalf of the alleged offender, and to facilitate the full reporting of child sexual abuse has, it is argued, had inimical and unintended consequences.

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This document has been peer reviewed.