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Report No. 87

V. Position in Australia

Photographs in Australia.- In Australia1, the High Court had occasion to deal with the position relating to photographs at length. While noticing that section 81(4) of the Police Offences Act, 1953 to 1967 (State of South Australia) permitted the taking of photographs of a person in lawful custody on a charge of committing an offence for the purpose of establishing the identity of such person with a person known to have committed the crime then under investigation, the High Court pointed out that the police officer had no power to require a person to submit to photography for any purpose other than the identification-that is, identification to the extent mentioned in the statute.

In this particular case photographs of the hand of the accused were taker, and used to assist the medical expert in the formation of the opinion that the scratches on the right hand of the accused could have been caused by handling the knife of which the handle had been broken. The accused had been charged with committing murder of a woman in a kitchen, and amongst the knives found in a drawer in the kitchen, three had traces of human blood protein end the handle of one of them was broken. There was evidence that two days before this incident the handle had been intact. The evidence in question was excluded in exercise of the discretion of the Court.



Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 Back




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