McPhillamy v The Queen [2018] HCA 52

Judgment type: 
High Court of Australia
Kiefel CJ, Bell, Keane, Nettle and Edelman JJ

McPhillamy, Richard John v The Queen

Judgment Date: 
8 November 2018

EVIDENCE – Criminal trial – Sexual offences – Tendency evidence – Admissibility – Where appellant acolyte and complainant altar boy – Where appellant alleged to have followed complainant into church's public bathroom and committed offences – Where evidence that appellant, while working as an assistant housemaster, sexually offended against homesick boarding students who sought out appellant in private bedroom led as tendency evidence – Where tendency expressed as appellant having sexual interest in young teenage boys under his supervision and to act on that interest – Where tendency evidence of acts occurring ten years before offences charged – Where no evidence other than complainant's evidence that appellant had offended again in ten year period – Where tendency evidence unchallenged in cross-examination – Whether tendency evidence possessed significant probative value.

WORDS AND PHRASES – "sexual interest", "significant probative value", "tendency evidence", "tendency expressed at a high level of generality", "tendency to act in a particular way", "tendency to have a particular state of mind".

Evidence Act 1995 (NSW), ss 97, 101.


[2018] HCA 52