Federal Court proceedings concerning where orders were given, in the interest of evidence preservation, that a witness provide oral evidence remotely in Far North Queensland. A legal representative of the North Queensland Land Council Native Representative Body (NQLC) proposed driving a laptop 600km to the witness as an alternative option was not available and that they be present with the witness whilst evidence was given as the witness was unfamiliar with the technology.
The Judge ordered inter alia:
- Evidence continue to be given at the proposed date due to the witness’ ill-health and age;
- It was “reasonable, facilitative, and consistent with obligations of the parties under s 37N of the Federal Court Act of Australia 1976 (Cth)” for the legal representative to deliver a laptop to the witness;
- Rejected the respondent’s submission that supporting material did not provide grounds for a representative for the NQLC legal representative to be present with the witness while they provided evidence;
- Rejected the respondent’s submission that the NQLC legal representative was not aware of their professional obligations under the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules 2012 to not coach or advise the witness.
Mei Ying Barnes appeared for the first respondent, instructed by Crown Law.
Please refer here for the judgment.