4.26.1 – Charge: Differences in Complainant’s Account

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This direction is designed to be used in cases involving a sexual offence if, after hearing counsel’s submissions, the judge considers there is evidence that suggests a difference in the complainant’s account of the offence that is relevant to the complainant’s credibility or reliability.

Differences in complainant’s account

In this case you have heard evidence that [insert details of the evidence that suggests a difference in the complainant’s account of the offence].

You may think that this shows that there have been differences in what NOC has said on different occasions.

For this purpose, a difference can be a gap in NOC’s account, an inconsistency in NOC’s account or a difference between NOC’s account and another account.

[Insert the following shaded section if it is appropriate to narrow the definition of differences]

In this case, the parties are agreed that the only relevant form of difference is [a gap in NOC’s account / an inconsistency in NOC’s account / a difference between NOC’s account and another account]. So when I speak of differences, I am referring to [refer to relevant difference].

You may use a difference in NOC’s account when you are assessing his/her credibility and reliability. When you are assessing the evidence, bear in mind that experience shows that:

It is up to you to decide whether or not the differences in NOC’s account are important when assessing NOC’s credibility and reliability. It is up to you to decide whether you believe all, some or none of his/her evidence.

Ultimately, the question you must decide is whether the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that NOA committed NOO.

Last updated: 2 October 2017

See Also

4.26 - Differences in a Complainant’s Account