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4.8.5 - Charge: Delay Causing Forensic Disadvantage

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When to Use This Charge

This charge may be used in all trials that were commenced on or after 29 June 2015.

This charge should only be given where:

  1. The judge is satisfied that the accused has suffered a significant forensic disadvantage because of the delay between the alleged offence and trial; and
  2. Either:
    1. A party has requested a direction on forensic disadvantage and there are not good reasons for not giving the requested direction; or
    2. A party has not requested a direction on forensic disadvantage, but there are substantial and compelling reasons to give the direction despite the absence of a request.


As you will be aware, the offences in this trial are alleged to have occurred [indicate date(s) or date range(s)]. NOC first complained to NOW about the offending on [indicate dates].[1] This means there was a delay of [indicate delay] before NOC told anybody about [the details of] these alleged offences.

Forensic Disadvantage

I must now inform you of a [further] significant consequence of this delay. This is the impact this delay has had on NOA’s ability to defend himself/herself against these charges.

In assessing the evidence in this case you must have regard to the following significant considerations. Because of this delay:

[List the specific forensic disadvantages suffered by the accused due to the consequences of delay. Only those disadvantages actually suffered in the circumstances of the case should be included. Possibilities include:

I instruct you as a direction of law that you must take these disadvantages into consideration when determining whether the prosecution has proved NOA’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.


[1] This charge is designed for use in cases where there was a delay in making the complaint. If the relevant delay arose after the complaint was made the charge will need to be modified accordingly.

Last updated: 29 June 2015

See Also

4.8 - Delayed Complaint

4.8.1 - Effect of Delayed Complaint on Credit

4.8.2 - Charge: Section 52 Direction

4.8.3 - Charge: Section 53 Direction

4.8.4 - Delay Causing Forensic Disadvantage

4.8.6 - Delay Risking Honest but Erroneous Memory

4.8.7 - Charge: Delay Risking Honest But Erroneous Memory