Clarity Law

Specialist Criminal Law Firm Queensland
Tuesday, 05 September 2023 16:16

Brief of Evidence – why is it so important?

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Brief of Evidence

In this article we will very briefly cover what a Brief of Evidence is and why it is important to the conduct of a criminal or traffic matter.

It is important to distinguish that not every matter will have a Brief of Evidence produced. For a matter that is straightforward and uncomplicated, a Brief of Evidence is not going to be important – if there is no real question as to what occurred then the matter will progress without it. Producing a Brief of Evidence may have the detrimental effect of delaying your matter in this circumstance.

Criminal matters, much like most aspects of life is ambiguous and not always so clear cut. It is these times where your legal representative will request a Full Brief of Evidence.

 

What is a Brief of Evidence and how does it differ from the QP9?
The Brief of Evidence, rather self-referentially is all of the evidence on which the prosecution intends to rely in the matter. It often contains correspondence (such as text messages), footage from the Police during arrest and interviews, CCTV or witness provided footage, and statements from the officers involved, witnesses and importantly victims. The copies of these items are made available in the brief and will allow a defendant or their legal representative to do a thorough review of the evidence.

This information, prior to being formalised in a brief forms the basis of the QP9, which as I am fond of describing – is as a bias snapshot of a moment or moments in time, told from the perspective of the police aimed to securing a prosecution. This obviously doesn’t mean that facts have been exaggerated or added to make the charge seem stronger, however the QP9 can be wrong. Criminal Lawyers negotiate agreed facts on a regular basis.

 

Why do we need the BOE?

The BOE is absolutely necessary when conducting complicated case conferencing and giving a client their options regarding their position to defend some or all of their charges.

The BOE allows your legal representative to see what the prosecution are relying on and can then decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence to secure a prosecution or if there is room to mount a defence to the charge.

The Brief of Evidence is also critical when preparing a matter for a sentence and even more so when preparing for a trial, where the evidence will be tested.

 

How long does it take a Brief of Evidence to be produced?

The real answer is that there is no hard and fast time in which it takes for a Brief to be produced. The first instance will typically be the Court ordering the production of the brief, and giving a deadline for that production. But it is common that briefs are not produced by that time, this can be due to delays in scientific testing of evidence to witness availability.

If a brief is not disclosed in time, your legal representative will advise the court and the matter will usually be adjourned to allow additional time for the brief to be disclosed.

 

I have a Brief of Evidence for my matter, but haven’t engaged a lawyer – what are my options?

It is not uncommon for people to start their matter on their own and through the course of them handling their matter, they will be given a copy of their Brief. It is at this time, some people may become overwhelmed by the information they’ve been given or not understand how it relates to their legal options. You can absolutely bring your brief to a lawyer to get advice or to represent you. Good criminal defence firms can conduct a review of a Brief and give you your options, whether that means having them represent you or you continue your matter on your own.

It is typically in a person’s best interest to get legal advice when they have a matter that warrants the production of a Brief of Evidence. There can be a considerable amount of information in these Briefs which must be considered to determine what the best legal option is.

 

Conclusion

This article, is by no means a comprehensive review of what a Brief of Evidence is, or why it is important to engage legal representation when you have a matter that warrants one. This article is designed to give you an overview of a term that occurs in the course of many matters, to enable you to make the most informed decision before commencing on your legal journey alone or if you engage an experienced legal practitioner to assist you.

Read 199 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 September 2023 16:54
Jack Marshall

Jack is a former soldier and now a criminal defence lawyer with Clarity Law. He helps clients navigate the court process and get the best results.