Commission launches second review of Evidence Act

Publication Date 
01 March 2017

Law Commission President Douglas White says a new review of the Evidence Act will look at many interesting issues, including those raised in the Supreme Court case R v Wichman [2015] NZSC 198; [2016] 1 NZLR 753..

In that case the court had to consider if the police's use of a fictional criminal organisation to extract a confession from a suspect was improperly obtained evidence, and if the eventual confession was unreliable. The police's 'Mr Big' style operation raised strong concerns from the Supreme Court at the time, but the police evidence was ruled admissible.

Whether s 30 of the Act strikes the right balance between the rights of individuals and effective crime control is just one of the issues the Commission will have to consider. Amy Adams, the Minister responsible for the Law Commission, has just released Terms of Reference for the Commission to review the Evidence Act a second time.

When Parliament passed the Act in 2006 it required that the Commission to review the Act every five years. 

The first review of the Act, which finished in 2013, was a technical review. This second review will be more comprehensive than the first review, but will not be a first principles review.                        

The Commission will consult with experts, interested parties, and the general public. The Commission will report to the Minister with its recommendations within two years (February 2019).