Expert Witnesses

The outcome of a case can often hinge on whether or not a client had expert witnesses assisting with the case.

Sometimes these people are required to give evidence to the court. Their credentials will need to be acceptable to the court.

Section 76 of the Evidence Act 2008 (Victoria) provides that evidence of an opinion is not admissible to prove the existence of a fact.

However, Section 79 of the Evidence Act 2008 (Victoria) provides that if a person has specialised knowledge based on the person’s training, study or experience, the opinion rule does not apply to evidence of an opinion of that person that is wholly or substantially based on that knowledge.

Many cases require an expert witness to be successful. For example, in serious charges such as culpable driving, disputes arise as to the facts. The disputes may even centre on who was the driver of the vehicle. This kind of defence would require the expertise of an Accident Reconstruction Expert.

I have been involved in a case where the police relied on evidence that the accused was the driver because his severed leg was found in the footwell on the driver’s side of the vehicle. However, expert evidence was led to establish the leg was severed in the passenger’s side but transferred as a result of the momentum of the collision.

In sexual cases, it is often necessary to obtain the expertise of psychiatrists who are skilled in this area. Most Magistrates and Judges tend to worry about re-offending when an accused is either found guilty or pleads guilty.

A psychiatrist can often help in this regard by providing expert evidence to the court as to the likelihood of re-offending.

Often times in bail applications, Magistrates are concerned that if they release an accused on bail, the accused may re-offend. They would like to be satisfied with evidence from a psychiatrist that this risk would be minimal.

Other expert witnesses that may be of assistance in a court case include:-

  • Acoustic and Noise Experts
  • Chemical Consultants
  • Forensic Consultants
  • Molecular Biologists
  • Pathologists
  • Pharmacologists
  • Psychologists
  • Drug Counselors
  • Fingerprint Experts
  • Gunsmith & Ballistic Experts
  • Fire Expert
  • Handwriting Experts & Document Examiners
  • Meteorologists
  • Engineers – Civil, Structural and Mechanical
  • A lawyer should never take it for granted that the evidence provided by the Prosecution is the only possible view of the evidence.

A lawyer should never take it for granted that the evidence provided by the Prosecution is the only possible view of the evidence.

Free first consultation

All clients will be dealt with personally. Please make contact with me using the following details:

Brendan Wilkinson, Criminal Defence Lawyer

Melbourne and Ballarat

Level 4 116 Hardware St

Melbourne VIC 3000

ph. 9670 1987 /  0438 670 198

brendanwilkinson@bigpond.com