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4.8.3 - Charge: Section 53 Direction

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Warning! In Ford v The Queen [2020] VSCA 162, the court said that judges "should proceed with appropriate caution" in their approach to Jury Directions Act 2015 s 53, noting that differences between s 53 and the former Crimes Act 1958 s 61(1)(b)(i) may affect the scope of judges giving examples of possible good reasons, and the need to base such examples on evidence led in the trial.

[This charge has been drafted for use in cases where the complainant delayed in making a complaint or did not make a complaint and the prosecution has requested that the judge direct the jury that there may be good reasons why a person may delay or fail to complain about a sexual offence.]

Section 53 Direction

As you will be aware, the offence[s] in this trial [is/are] alleged to have occurred [indicate date(s) or date range(s)].

You heard evidence that NOC did not make a complaint about these offences until [indicate date], which was [indicate delay] after the offence[s] [was/were] alleged to have taken place.

I direct as a matter of law that there may be good reasons why a person may not complain, or may delay in complaining, about a sexual offence.

[If necessary, insert any relevant reasons, such as:

Last updated: 18 June 2020

See Also

4.8 - Delayed Complaint

4.8.1 - Effect of Delayed Complaint on Credit

4.8.2 - Charge: Section 52 Direction

4.8.4 - Delay Causing Forensic Disadvantage

4.8.5 - Charge: Delay Causing Forensic Disadvantage

4.8.6 - Delay Risking Honest but Erroneous Memory

4.8.7 - Charge: Delay Risking Honest But Erroneous Memory