R v Kent [2017] NZDC 19896

Published 19 March 2018

Admissibility of co-defendant's conviction — conviction as evidence in criminal proceedings — exceptional circumstances — Evidence Act 2006, s 49 — Criminal Procedure Act 2011, s 101 — Morton v R [2016] NZSC 51. In this pre-trial application, the court was asked to admit a co-defendant's conviction for importing drugs which was relevant to assist the Crown in proving that the drug was imported on each of the six occasions relating to the charges faced by the defendant. The court considered the probative value of the evidence as well as whether the admission of that evidence would fetter the defendant's ability to offer an effective defence by challenging the evidence that the substance was in fact a drug and ability to argue a lack of knowledge that the substance was a controlled drug. The court found that the evidence was not illegitimately prejudicial so as to be excluded, however finding that there were exceptional circumstances as contemplated under s 49(2), the defendant was permitted to offer evidence that tended to disprove the co-defendant's conviction. The application to admit the conviction evidence was granted. Judgment Date: 8 September 2017.