Sexual Violence: Witnesses and Suspects Debating Document

Justice Peter Charleton and Stephen Byrne

Volume 1 Issue 1 Article 1

This article explores the rules of evidence and criminal procedure as they apply in sexual offence cases. These rules include the admissibility of self-serving statements to the Gardaí by accused persons, the discretionary corroboration warning in sexual offences as provided for under section 7 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990, cross-examination of the complainant, the admissibility of multiple complaints in the light of the general exclusion of bad character evidence, the questioning of a complainant about any prior sexual experience, and the doctrine of recent complaint. These rules will be examined in the context of recent empirical accounts of attrition rates in sexual offences. The article will also have regard to the rights of the accused and the need to maintain a fair balance that limits the potential for injustice.

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