Nick Dowse Prior Consistent Statements
Prior Consistent Statements – Structure of Answer
1. There is a general rule that a party cannot lift themselves up by their own bootstraps to enhance
credit (R v Connolly). As aspect of this rule is that a party cannot use “self-serving” prior
consistent statements to enhance credit (Britton v Cmr for Road Transport).
2. Prior = before the case
3. Consistent = what you said before and what you are saying now is the same
4. Statement = statement that relates to the facts in issue.
a. Fresh Complaints in Sexual Offences
i. At CL, sexual offence should be complained about at earliest reasonable opportunity
ii. Position modified under statute in Qld by s 4A of Criminal Law (Sexual Offences)
Act 1978 (Qld)
1. Evidence of how and when any preliminary complaint is admissible no matter
when the preliminary complaint was made (s 4A(2) CLSOA).
a. Preliminary complaint = any statement made prior to a formal witness
statement to polce.
b. Eg: to parent, school teacher, friend, counsellor
2. Judge cannot warn jury that complainant’s evidence less reliable due to lapse
of time between offence and preliminary complaint (s 4A(4)).
a. Preserves the CL rule that the preliminary complaint only goes to the
complainant’s credibility, and is not direct evidence of the offence (R v
3. Court can still exclude if would be unfair to defendant (s 4A(3)).
iii. Therefore, witnesses able to lead prior consistent, self-ser