Previous Topic

Next Topic

Book Contents

Book Index

4.15.1 - Charge: Unreliability of Hearsay Evidence

Click here to obtain a Word version of this document for adaptation

When to Use this Charge

This is a generic charge that can be adapted for use in cases where:

  • Evidence of a previous representation has been admitted; and
  • A party in a jury trial requests a warning under Jury Directions Act 2015 s32 or a warning is necessary under Jury Directions Act 2015 s16; and
  • The evidence in question is "of a kind that may be unreliable"; and
  • There are no good reasons for not giving a warning.

Where the requirements of s32 have been met, this warning should be inserted into the following charges where indicated:



In this case you heard evidence that [insert details of the previous representation].

It is for you to determine whether NO3P[1] made the alleged statement. If you find that s/he did, you can use that fact to [identify the asserted facts in the statement and how those facts are relevant in the case. If necessary, also describe any limitations on the use of the evidence, following a ruling under s136].

However, before you do so, I must warn you about the need for caution when considering NOW’s evidence about that statement.

Matters that may cause unreliability

I must give you this warning because NOW’s evidence was about a statement that was made out of court. It is the experience of the law that evidence of out-of-court statements may be unreliable, because [identify all of the risks of unreliability posed by the evidence in the case, such as:

The judge should also identify any other factors that may have a bearing on the reliability of the evidence in the case, such as:



The law says that every jury must take this potential unreliability into account when considering evidence of an out-of-court statement. You must take it into account in determining whether you accept NOW’s evidence at all, and if you do accept it, in deciding what weight to give to that evidence.



[1] Name of 3rd party (i.e., the person who made the statement).

Last updated: 29 June 2015

See Also

4.15 - Previous Representations (Hearsay, Recent Complaint and Prior Statements)

4.15.2 - Charge: Prior Inconsistent Statements

4.15.3 - Charge: Prior Consistent Statements

4.15.4 - Charge: Complaint Evidence