New Zealand Police v YH [2017] NZYC 873

Published 15 February 2019

Application to adduce propensity evidence — sexual offending — repetition — Freeman v R [2010] NZCA 230. The prosecution sought to admit propensity evidence against the young person relating to one charge of indecent assault. The proposed propensity evidence concerned behaviour that occurred six months after the alleged offending and involved the defendant asking the proposed witness to give him a hug and holding her head near his crotch. The prosecutor argued that the alleged facts of the case, and the behaviour that the proposed witness described, are characterised by traits of similarity, frequency and connection in time. The defence argued that the issue in dispute was very broad, and that both allegations were denied by the young person. With reference to Freeman the court noted: “Where the relevant issue is very broad there is often greater judicial reluctance to admit evidence of similar offending.” The court agreed with the defence argument that there was no real probative value in the proposed propensity evidence that would justify an order admitting it as, within the nature of the alleged offending, there were no unremarkable traits that made it stand out. The application to admit propensity evidence was accordingly declined. Judgment Date: 14 November 2017. * * * Note: Names have been changed to comply with legal requirements * * *