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4.18.1 - Charge: Tendency Evidence (General Charge)

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When to Use This Charge

This charge may be given where a direction has been requested regarding tendency evidence called by the prosecution.

A short direction based on this charge should be given at the time the evidence is led.

Alternative Charges

If the tendency evidence is relied on to show that the accused committed sexual offences against multiple individuals in a particular class, use this charge. However, if evidence that the accused had a sexual interest in a single complainant has been admitted as tendency evidence, use Charge: Tendency Evidence (Sexual Interest Evidence)

If evidence of two or more similar events has been admitted to enable the jury to draw an inference of guilt by a process of coincidence reasoning, use Charge: Coincidence Evidence.

If evidence is led of other discreditable acts of the accused which are not directly relevant to a fact in issue, or is adduced to help the jury understand the context of the alleged offending, use Charge: Other forms of other misconduct evidence.


Use of Tendency Evidence

Members of the jury, part of the prosecution case is that NOA has demonstrated a tendency, or in other words, a pattern of behaviour, to [describe alleged tendency].

[Identify relevant tendency evidence]

The prosecution argues that [summarise prosecution arguments on the use of tendency evidence]. In response, the defence says [summarise defence arguments on the use of tendency evidence].

If you find that NOA had a tendency to [describe relevant tendency], then you can use that to find that it is more likely that NOA committed [identify relevant offences].[1]

You must keep this evidence in perspective. It is only one part of the prosecution’s case.[2] It is not enough to convict the accused that you find [he/she] [identify the tendency evidence] or [identify the alleged tendency]. You can only find NOA guilty of a charge if you are satisfied of [his/her] guilt of that charge beyond reasonable doubt, based on the whole of the evidence.

As I have told you, you must not decide the case on the basis of feelings of sympathy or prejudice because of what you learn about the accused. The evidence has been led for the limited purpose of showing that [describe relevant tendency] and so is more likely to have committed the offence(s) charged. You must not use the evidence for any other purpose.


[1] In some cases, it will be necessary to identify intermediate steps through which the tendency evidence makes NOA’s guilt more likely, such as by enhancing the credibility of the complainant.

[2] If the tendency evidence is the whole of the prosecution case, then this sentence should be omitted.

Last updated: 2 October 2018

See Also

4.18 - Tendency Evidence

4.18.2 - Charge: Tendency Evidence (Sexual Interest Evidence)

4.18.3 - Charge: Tendency Evidence (General Defence Evidence)