The Rule of Law Institute of Australia’s (RoLIA) media release on 22 March 2013 condemned changes to the right to silence in New South Wales that restrict and modify the presumption of innocence and the right to silence in criminal trials.

Students studying criminal law and the balance between the rights of the individual and the needs of the state can access our one page factsheet which outlines this law reform issue and its impact.

The Evidence Amendment (Evidence of Silence) Act 2013 (NSW) passed in March 2013 amends the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) and modifies the right to silence when arrested by police for a [pl_tooltip tip=”an offence which carries a penalty of imprisonment for 5 years or more” position=”right”] serious indictable offence[/pl_tooltip].

Also, the Criminal Procedure Amendment (Mandatory Pre-trial Defence Disclosure) Act 2013 now makes the defence and prosecution provide further details of their case to each other before the trial. Previously, the defence only had to reveal specific aspects of their case pre-trial such as alibis and if they intended to offer the defence of mental impairment.

Teachers may be interested in this article, When you say nothing at all: NSW and the right to silence’ written by David Hamer and Gary Edmond, that explains the influence of legislation from the United Kingdom, and notes that changes there made no discernible difference to conviction rates.

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