R v Carroll [2017] NZDC 27386

Published 21 August 2018

Application to stay proceedings — deceased witnesses — historic sexual offending — delay — special prejudice — fair trial — CT v R [2014] NZSC 155. The court was asked to stay proceedings on sexual offending charges against the defendant, as there had been a delay in bringing the prosecution. The alleged offending had occurred between 25 and 38 years ago and twelve of the witnesses that the defendant wished to call had passed away and were therefore no longer able to give evidence. The defendant argued that the witnesses would have been able to speak to his movements, whereabouts at the time of the alleged offending and allow him to test the complainant's prior consistent statement. He also argued that the delay in bringing the proceedings meant that he was not able to demonstrate the visibility at the alleged offending sites as the locations had been converted into residential housing. The court noted that it was surprising that the defendant claimed there was prejudice but had provided the court with general information. The court found that the crown's case could not be characterised as weak and that a fair trial was possible with an appropriate direction to the jury. The application to stay proceedings was accordingly declined. Judgment Date: 11 December 2017. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *