Could the Police have a Motive to lie in your case?

Monday , 16, November 2015 1 Comment


Could the Police have a Motive to lie in your case¹?

 On various social network platforms you often see Video Footage of police with a short fuse making hasty arrests, inevitably even when the person appears not to resist at all they often get charged with obstruction, failing to obey, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

Motive to lie

Motive to lie

Relevance of the Police Informant’s Motive

If the police have a motive to make and persist in false allegations about you (a “motive to lie”), this may be a relevant factor in judging their credit and testing the acceptability of the accusation giving rise to the charges[2]

You do not need to prove the motive[3] just show how it may exist and be a consideration and that will not be held against you[4].

Raising the Issue of the Police Informant’s Motive to Lie

The fact that the Police have a motive to lie is relevant, it is permissible for the defence to cross-examine the informant about whether s/he has a motive to lie[5] You can also in aid of your defence lead other evidence from which it can be inferred that the police have a motive to lie[6].

Although you may be cross-examined that needs to be conducted within the limits of relevant and admissible evidence. Therefore they can only ask you questions about facts not your opinion on the motives as you have no expertise in this area, so it is inadmissible[7].

Even if the prosecution tries to rebut any motive they should not suggest that rejecting the suggested motive means accepting that the complainant has no motive to lie and is telling the truth[8].

For the accused to be cross-examined about the complainant’s motive to lie, s/he must have made an allegation about the complainant lying in his or her direct evidence. The fact that defence counsel made such an allegation in his or her arguments is not sufficient[9].

Focusing on the police informant’s motive to lie may distract from the critical question in a criminal trial – whether the prosecution has proved the guilt and benefits you in showing reasonable doubt[10].  It also creates a situation where the prosecution cannot ask you directly on the issue of motive but may ask the Magistrate a question “why would the police lie” or if the prosecutor is the informant “why would I lie” leaving those words in the judge’s mind[11].

It will ordinarily be appropriate to tell the magistrate that the police may have had an unknown reason to lie, or that people sometimes lie for no discernible reason[12].

So in conclusion, if you feel in your case the Police have a motive to lie, then it is entirely appropriate for you to raise this issue in your defence and even introduce it as basis for a possible counter-claim later in Tort.

 

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] Victorian Criminal Charge Book Published by the Judicial College of Victoria.

[2] Palmer v The Queen (1998) 193 CLR 1; R v Uhrig NSW CCA 24/10/96).

[3] R v Costin [1998] 3 VR 659; Palmer v The Queen (1998) 193 CLR 1; R v Cherry (No.2) [2006] VSCA 271

[4] Palmer v The Queen (1998) 193 CLR 1; R v PLK [1999] 3 VR 567; R v Hilsey [1998] VSCA 143

 

[5] Palmer v The Queen (1998) 193 CLR 1; R v Uhrig NSW CCA 24/10/96; R v PLK [1999] 3 VR 56

[6] Palmer v The Queen (1998) 193 CLR 1; R v Uhrig NSW CCA 24/10/96

[7] Palmer v The Queen (1998) 193 CLR 1 per Kirby J; R v SAB [2008] VSCA 150

 

[8] R v Hewitt [1998] 4 VR 862

[9] R v Davis [2007] VSCA 276, Victorian Criminal Charge Book Published by the Judicial College of Victoria.

[10] Palmer v The Queen (1998) 193 CLR 1; R v PLK [1999] 3 VR 567; R v RC [2004] VSCA 183; R v E (1996) 39 NSWLR 450; R v F (1995) 83 A Crim R 502; R v Davis [2007] VSCA 276; R v SAB [2008] VSCA 150

[11] R v RC [2004] VSCA 183

[12] R v SAB [2008] VSCA 150



One thought on “ : Could the Police have a Motive to lie in your case?”
  • Darryl Pipe says:

    Oh what a wicked web we weave . I’m a common law man . Let the people talk and hear them .

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