Yes, a child can be a witness in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. However, the child’s age and maturity level will be taken into account in determining their ability to provide reliable evidence.
Under the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW), there is no minimum age for a witness to give evidence in court. However, the court must consider the child’s understanding of the difference between truth and lies, and their ability to accurately recall and communicate what they saw or heard. The court may also consider whether the child has any disabilities, and whether the child has been influenced or coached by anyone.
In some cases, a child’s evidence may be given by way of a video recording or other special arrangements to protect the child’s welfare and privacy. Additionally, the court may make orders to protect the child from unnecessary trauma or distress during the proceedings.
Overall, the court’s priority is to ensure that the child witness is treated with sensitivity and fairness, and that their evidence is reliable and credible.
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*This article correctly reflects the Laws of NSW as at 8th May 2023.
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