Email in evidence

The Queensland Bar produces an online journal called Hearsay.

The current edition has an interesting article on forged emails, prompted by the recent OzCar imbruglio in federal politics, written by Dr Bradley Schatz.

He discusses a couple of cases dealing with the use of emails in evidence, and establishing their provenance.

When the Evidence Act 2008 commences operation, s 161 will provide that electronic communications — such as email, SMS, blogs, tweets, Skype, and IRC chats — will be presumed valid on their face.

Of course this doesn’t mean they can’t be challenged (such as in the way discussed by Dr Schatz), but it means evidence law will adopt a pragmatic presumption that they are what they appear to be unless challenged. (This approach is typical through much of the uniform Evidence Acts, and is intended to reduce disputes over points of evidence to the real issues in dispute between the parties.)

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