Admissibility of hearsay evidence in criminal proceedings

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Admissibility of hearsay evidence in criminal proceedings
  • How to identify hearsay
  • A statement
  • The statement must be made out of court
  • The statement must be relied on at trial for the truth of the matter stated
  • The purpose of the maker of the statement is to cause another to believe or act on the facts stated
  • Computer records
  • The statutory gateways
  • Admission of hearsay by agreement
  • Admission under the statutory provisions of CJA 2003
  • More...

Admissibility of hearsay evidence in criminal proceedings

How to identify hearsay

The definition of hearsay is contained in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003). It comprises of four essential elements.

There must be:

  1. a statement

  2. made out of court

  3. relied on for the truth of the matter stated, and

  4. the purpose of the maker of the statement is to cause another to believe or act on the facts stated

A statement

Under CJA 2003 a statement is broadly defined as any representation of fact or opinion by whatever means. This means that the representation could be made orally, in writing or by a gesture. The representation must be made by a person not a machine.

The definition expressly includes a representation made in a sketch, photofit or other pictorial form. This includes artist's sketches and composite images or 'photofits' (often described as E-FIT images).

The statement must be made out of court

The statement must be made other than in court in the present proceedings, that is out of court. Such statements will include previous statements made by a person other than a witness in the proceedings, previous statements made by a person who is a witness in the proceedings, and also statements made by the witness on oath in other proceedings.

The statement must be relied on at trial for the truth of the matter stated

Statements are only hearsay if

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