The rule against hearsay in criminal proceedings excludes the admission of second-hand evidence, subject to certain exceptions. Evidence is described as hearsay where a witness proposes to testify as to a particular fact on the basis of what he has been told by another. Hearsay is excluded because there is no opportunity to cross-examine the maker of the original statement, and because hearsay may be unreliable. The rule has been criticised, however, because of its complexity and because it sometimes results in the exclusion of otherwise reliable evidence.
This subject was referred to the Law Reform Commission for consideration and a sub-committee was established in July 2001. A consultation paper containing the Sub-committee's recommendations for reform was published on 30 November 2005.
The members of the Hearsay in Criminal Proceedings Sub-committee are:
|Hon Mr Justice Stock, Justice of Appeal (Chairman)|
|Mr But Sun Wai, Solicitor|
|Mr Peter Chapman, Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Department of Justice|
|Mr Alan Hoo, SBS, SC, JP, Barrister|
|Mr Andrew Lam, Solicitor|
|Mr Gerard McCoy, SBS, QC, SC, Barrister|
|Mr Anthony Upham, Associate Professor, School of Law, City University of Hong Kong|
|Hon Mr Justice Wright, Judge of the Court of First Instance of the High Court|
|Mr Simon Young, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong|
The Sub-committee's Secretary is Mr Byron Leung, Senior Government Counsel.