By: David Bloomberg Re: Australian Ban (File: AUSBAN.ZIP) From the Australian, 5/9/95 REPR

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By: David Bloomberg Re: Australian Ban (File: AUSBAN.ZIP) From the Australian, 5/9/95 REPRESSED-MEMORY EVIDENCE BANNED By Scott Emerson Lawyers and civil libertarians yesterday backed a decision by Queens- land's Director of Prosecutions, Mr Royce Miller QC, not to proceed with cases based on evidence obtained under the controversial repressed-memory hypnotic technique. In a letter to the Queensland Police Commissioner, Mr Miller says in making his decision he considered a recent West Australian case, and an unrelated Sydney case also involving hypnosis. In the West Australian case a father was acquitted of molesting his two daughters. The women claimed that they had repressed the memories of sexual abuse for decades until the use of counselling and hypnotherapy. Mr Miller yesterday asked that police investigators be informed of his stand. "Until further notice I advise that I will not seek to tender evidence of a recollection of a witness which emerged for the first time during or after hypnosis unless the following guidelines are satisfied," Mr Miller wrote. Those guidelines include that hypnotically induced evidence must be limited to matters which the witness had recalled and related prior to the hypnosis. The substance of the original recollection must also be preserved in written, audio or video recorded form. "The fact that a witness has been hypnotised will be disclosed by the prosecution to the defence and all relevant transcripts and information provided to the defence, well in advance of the trial," Mr Miller said. Mr Miller also wrote to the respective boards of psychology and psychiatry in the State of his decision. The vice-president of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, Mr Terry O'Gorman, said Mr Miller's decision was sensible because the evidence obtained by the technique could not be relied upon. "Those of us who followed the West Australian case were astounded it ever got to trial. The WA prosecutor was rightly criticised for bringing that case against that fellow," Mr O'Gorman said. "It is a sensible and balanced response by the Queensland prosecutor but in no way radical." The President of the Queensland Bar Association, Mr Walter Sofronoff, said he agreed with Mr Miller's decision.


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