VIC Family Law - Interfereing with Witnesses of Abuse to Children - Legal?

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Allan Havill

30 September 2015
I am currently contesting an IVO against an ex partner who I had 2 children with. Her latest boyfriend has a restraining order brought by me against him for giving and supplying illegal drugs to my daughters and abusing them physically.

They are two different matters; one by my ex against me and one by me against him for abusing my children. The magistrate requested me to supply a list of people, 8 in all,in the particulars who have witnessed the boyfriend's abuse against my children. My ex has that list and has been calling these people, She cries to them and plays the "sad victim" thing and a couple of them are pulling back from their original statements. Under Family Law, is she legally allowed to interfere with my witnesses like that?


Hi Allan,

Part 8.6.1 of the Criminal Proceedings Manual of Vic states that it is contempt of court to interfere with a witness. Check it out here: Victorian Criminal Proceedings Manual

The following conduct may constitute contempt by interfering with a witness:
  • to assault, threaten or abuse a witness or potential witness (European Asian Bank AG v Wentworth [1986] 5 NSWLR 445);
  • to prevent a witness from receiving a subpoena (Lane v Registrar of Supreme Court of New South Wales (1981) 148 CLR 245);
  • to attempt to induce a witness to confess that she had committed perjury at a trial while an appeal is pending (Jones v Jones (1898) 19 LR (NSW) 43);
  • to threaten a witness with a perjury charge if the witness gives evidence as intended (R v McLachlan [1998] 2 VR 55);
  • to seek to influence a witness against a party by disparagement of that party, or to otherwise prejudge the case (Welby v Still (1892) 8 TLR 202);
  • to arrest a witness on the way to or while attending the court to give evidence, or otherwise prevent a witness duly summoned from attending court (Hall (1776) 2 Black W 1110; 96 ER 655);
  • to bribe or attempt to bribe a witness (Lewis v James (1887) 3 TLR 527);
  • to remove a person from office because of evidence given (Attorney-General v Butterworth [1963] 1 QB 696); and
  • for a landlord to give a tenant notice to quit because the tenant had given evidence against him or her (Chapman v Honig [1963] 2 QB 502).