12.1 Part 3.7 of the uniform Evidence Acts[1] contains the credibility rule and its primary exceptions. Section 102 of the uniform Evidence Acts provides that:

Evidence that is relevant only to a witness’s credibility is not admissible.

12.2 The term ‘credibility of a witness’ is defined in the uniform Evidence Actsas:

the credibility of any part or all of the evidence of the witness, and includes the witness’s ability to observe or remember facts and events about which the witness has given, is giving or is to give evidence.[2]

12.3 The exclusionary rule for credibility evidence therefore applies to evidence that bears on the reliability of a witness generally, and evidence that bears on the reliability of particular testimony of that witness.[3]

12.4 The credibility rule is subject to specific exceptions that apply when evidence:

  • is adduced in cross-examination (s 103);
  • is led to rebut denials made in cross-examination (s 106);
  • is admitted to re-establish credibility (s 108); or
  • relates to the credibility of accused persons (s 104).

[1] The equivalent Tasmanian provisions are labelled Evidence Act 2001 (Tas) Ch 3, Pt 7.

[2] Uniform Evidence Acts Dictionary, Pt 1; Evidence Act 2001 (Tas) s 3.

[3] S Odgers, Uniform Evidence Law (6th ed, 2004), [1.3.7640]; J Anderson, J Hunter and N Williams, The New Evidence Law: Annotations and Commentary on the Uniform Evidence Acts (2002), [102.10].