Opinion & Expert Evidence.
Witnesses must testify to facts rather than opinions.
* Authority borne from Common Law and s76 Uniform Evidence Act (UE).
* Role of Opinion Evidence
Up to court to ascertain inferences from the facts.
* Where person’s opinion IS a fact in issue
* Ie: self defence
Evidence Act 1995 (Cth), s77
* Where lay witness may provide an opinion
* Hard to separate fact from opinion.
* Ie: Speed, sobriety, apparent age, handwriting.
‘I do not think the subjects on which the non-expert witness will be allowed to give inferential evidence can be stated exhaustively, for they do not constitute a closed category. But, if only to confirm that the category exists and to afford some clue as to what falls within in, the following established examples may be mentioned: (1) the identification of handwriting, persons and things; (2) apparent age; (3) the bodily plight or condition of a person, including death and illness; (4) the emotional state of a person – eg whether distressed, angry, aggressive, affectionate or depressed; (5) the condition of things – eg worn, shabby, used or new; (6) certain questions of value; and (7) estimates of speed and distance.’
Sherrard v Jacob  NI 151.
R v Whitby (1957) 74 WN (NSW) 441.
Evidence Act 1995 (Cth), s78.
* Where expert witness may give an opinion
* General Rule
* Are an expert &
* Must be recognised field;
* Need leave for expert – district.
* Other courts leave not required.
* Identify basis of expert opinion. (Build the basis). – Why are you leading evidence.
‘Before admitting the opinion of a witness into evidence as expert testimony, the judge must consider and decide two questions. The first is whether the subject matter of the opinion falls within the class of...