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Thursday, 5 October 1911

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - Sub-clause 3 of this clause provides that the section shall, not be taken - to .-authorize a statutory declaration to be used as evidence in judicial proceedings, but nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any statutory declaration from being so used.

In this measure it seems to be inferred that a statutory declaration signed by a person might be used against him in criminal proceedings. But that is contrary to all the principles of criminal law as ordinarily accepted.. I : should like to satisfy' myself that the onus of proof is not shifted by this provision. I do not know whether the point has occupied "the attention of the AttorneyGeneral, but certainly, if declarations made under this measure can be used in criminal proceedings., it will be a violation of the principles of evidence and of British justice. The Bill does not appear to contemplate an alteration of the law of evidence, and possibly the Courts will so construe it; but the wording is somewhat ambiguous. The implication I have suggested is there.

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