Alibis are easy to invent, and time consuming to investigate.

Plainly an alibi is powerful evidence for a Defendant. If a jury considers it reasonably possible that the alibi evidence is honest and accurate, it would usually provide a complete defence to the charge.

The difficulty is that an unexpected alibi defence can be impossible for the Crown to properly respond to.  Were it to be the case that Defence could spring a surprise alibi defence at trial, it is likely that trials would frequently have to be adjourned to permit the Crown time to investigate said alibi.

Alibis are easy to invent, and time consuming to investigate. It is for this reason that, generally speaking, when a charge is prosecuted on indictment, it is required that the give full and proper notice of the alibi proposed to be led at trial.

Section 150 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 requires that notice be given of the intention to call alibi evidence as well as the person's name and address. If this is not done, leave is required to call the evidence.

In matters prosecuted summarily, whilst the above leave is not required, there is little impediment to the court granting an adjournment and, on the following date, permitting the Crown to call evidence in reply.



Killick v R [1981] HCA 63

“It is therefore difficult to see why the Crown should be allowed to take the exceptional course of calling evidence in rebuttal to refute an alibi, if details of the alibi were known and the refuting evidence could have been called in chief.”