R v Dawson Roderick (No1) [2016] NZDC 3375

Published 11 July 2016

Objection to witness — evidence. Defence were provided with a witness statement in February 2016 relating to sexual offending against a complainant. That complainant had mentioned the witness in a police interview in January 2014. The defence raised objection as they had little time to investigate the witness statement, which took them by surprise. They claimed that the witness should not be able to be called because although police had known about her since 2014 they had only made real inquiries fairly recently; defence claimed as a matter of fairness the witness should not be called. The Judge appreciated that while the witness statement was disclosed only shortly before trial it was not the fault of the police, and that it was the result of multiple investigations being carried out simultaneously with witnesses being reluctant to cooperate. Further, while some degree of prejudice existed, the defence had always known about the person being a potential witness and had the opportunity to make inquiries if they wished. The Judge determined it was appropriate that the witness could be called. **Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements.