Whether Rules or Discretion? Developing a Best Practice Model for Controlling the Admissibility of Sexual Experience Evidence in Sexual Offence Trials

Susan Leahy

Vol_4_Issue_1_Article_4

This article considers the controversial issue of the admission of sexual experience evidence in sexual offence trials. The discussion begins with an assessment of the shortcomings of the current Irish approach to the regulation of the admissibility of sexual experience evidence. It is argued that Irish discretionary approach, which allows trial judges a wide discretion to introduce such evidence, is not the most appropriate method of regulation in this area. The article thus examines English and Canadian rules in this area in order to determine which of these two jurisdictions differing approaches to the regulation of sexual experience evidence represents the most suitable advancement on discretionary regimes such as that which applies in Irish law. Having examined the approach of both of these jurisdictions, it is concluded that Canadian law epitomises the best practice model for controlling the admission of sexual experience evidence in sexual offence trials.

 

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