New Zealand Police v Razeel Ali [2016] NZDC 3805

Published 01 August 2016

Evidence Act 2006, ss 4 & 94 — hostile witness — false statement — male assaults female. The Judge ruled that the complainant was a hostile witness and that police would be entitled to cross-examine her on the entirety of her statement. The alleged offending was male assaults female by way of punches and the use of a knife against the complainant’s throat. The defendant was the complainant’s husband and the offending was originally alleged to have occurred whilst he was very drunk. On the day of these proceedings the complainant gave evidence that her original statement was false and that she made up the allegations because her and her husband had been arguing. The police relied on s 94 of the Evidence Act 2006 (the Act). Pursuant to s 4(b) a witness is hostile if they have given evidence that is inconsistent with a statement they have made in a manner that exhibits or appears to exhibit an intention to be unhelpful to the party who called the witness. The Judge accepted as advanced by the police that there were inconsistencies in the complainant’s evidence. Her statement on the night of the alleged offending and the evidence she gave during proceedings varied as to the defendant’s level of intoxication, what the knife was used for and her emotional response to the offending. The Judge was satisfied that the complainant had gone further than simply failing to recall and had instead come up with alternative explanations for the alleged offending; the Judge believed this demonstrated an intention on her part to be unhelpful to the prosecution.