Last Updated 27 June 2017
1/. From Arrest to Local Court
(a) Arrest and Following
Do I Have to Answer Police Questions?
The general position is that you do not have to answer police questions. There are some important exceptions which are set out below. As a matter of common sense, if you are asked questions by police about a simple matter of which you are obviously innocent, it is probably a good idea to answer their questions. In other situations, speak to a lawyer first. In particular, if the police want to record an interview with you on tape or video, always say you want to speak to a lawyer first.
A police officer can request a person to provide his or her name and address if those details are unknown to the police officer and if the police officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the person may be able to assist in the investigation of an alleged offence because the person was at or near the place where an alleged indictable offence occurred around the time when the offence occurred: s. 11 Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act (hereafter LE (PAR) Act). It is an offence to refuse to supply a name and address: s. 12 LE (PAR) Act. The penalty is 2 penalty units, or $220. It has been held that the police are entitled to demand the particulars of a suspect: DPP v Horwood  NSWSC 1447.
Where a police officer reasonably suspects that a motor vehicle was or may have been used in the commission of an indictable offence, the police officer can ask the owner, driver or passenger of the vehicle to supply details of the driver and passengers in the vehicle at the time of the offence: s. 14 LE (PAR) Act It is an offence to refuse to give an answer or to give a false name or address, carrying a penalty of $5500 or 12 months gaol: ss. 16-18 LE (PAR) Act
Police can demand proof of identification: s. 19 LE (PAR) Act.
Stop and Search.
The police have no power at common law to search someone prior to arrest: Mammone v Chaplin (1991) 54 A Crim R 163. However under s. 21 LE (PAR) Act the police may stop and search anyone whom they reasonably suspect has something stolen anything or otherwise unlawfully obtained or anything used in an indictable offence.
Being sniffed by a police drug dog is not a 'search': DPP v Darby  NSWSC 1157
A 'reasonable suspicion' involves less than a belief but more than a mere possibility. There must be some factual basis for the suspicion; reasonable suspicion is not arbitrary. Hearsay material can be used as the basis for a reasonable suspicion: Rondo (2001) 126 A Crim R 562 .
A police officer has the power to stop and search a motor vehicle if he/she believes on reasonable grounds that the vehicle is being or may have been used in the commission of an indictable or firearms offence, or if the police officer believes on reasonable grounds that the vehicle contains drugs or anything used or intended to be used in the commission of such an offence, or if the police officer believes on reasonable grounds that there is a serious risk to public safety and the search might lessen that risk: s. 36 LE (PAR) Act.
De Facto Arrest.
A person is arrested when police deprive him of his liberty, regardless of the words used. A person is arrested when police make it plain to him that he is not free to leave if he chooses: Lavery (1978) 19 SASR 515, C (1997) 93 A Crim R 81. When a person is confronted at his home by armed police an arrest may occur unless police indicate that the person is free to leave: Trotter (1992) 60 A Crim R 1.
Purpose of Arrest.
An arrest for the purpose of investigating whether or not the person has committed a crime, or obtaining more evidence, is an illegal arrest: Williams v The Queen (1986) 161 CLR 278, 66 ALR 385. The purpose of the arrest must be to bring the person before a magistrate. This remains the case after the amendments to the Crimes Act allowing detention after arrest for the purpose of investigation: Dungay (2001) 126 A Crim R 216. It also means that there is no power to arrest a suspect when the arresting officer has not formed an intention to charge him: Dowse v NSW  NSWCA 337 esp at para .
The arrester must have reasonable grounds to believe that the person has or is in the act of committing an offence: s. 99 LE (PAR) Act. Reasonable cause includes hearsay: Hussein v Chong Fook Kam  3 All ER 1282. The principles relating to 'reasonable grounds to arrest have been summarised in Hyder v The Commonwealth  NSWCA 336 esp at para .
Physical Aspect of Arrest.
Arrest involves either submission or actual touching of the accused: Thomson  NZLR 513.
When the police decide to arrest or charge someone they should so inform the person of that fact and the grounds of the arrest and caution the person that they do not have to answer any questions: Code of Practice for Crime p. 8, formerly Instruction 37.14. No particular form of words is necessary as long as it is made clear to the person that he is under arrest: Inwood  2 All ER 645. The reason for the arrest should be made clear to the person unless:
See Christie v Leachinsky  AC 573 and Johnstone v NSW  NSWCA 70.
Arrest as a Last Resort
The power to arrest should only be exercised as a last resort where alternatives (such as issuing a summons or a court attendance notice) are impractical. If the power of arrest is used inappropriately for a minor offence, and the offender reacts by committing an offence such as resist arrest /assault police, evidence of these latter offences may be excluded in the exercise of the court's discretion: DPP v Carr (2002) 127 A Crim R 151. See also DPP v CAD  NSWSC 196.
Search of Arrested Persons.
A person who has been arrested may be searched: s. 23 LE (PAR) Act. So may a person in lawful custody: s. 24 LE (PAR) Act.
It is an offence to have a cutting weapon when arrested: s. 547D Crimes Act. This only applies when police locate the weapon after the defendant has been arrested: Pittman v Di Francesco (1985) 4 NSWLR 133.
Prints and Photos.
A police officer can take particulars necessary to identify a person in custody including fingerprints, palm prints and photographs for the purpose of identification of persons over 14: s. 133 LE (PAR) Act. Children under 14 can only be photographed or fingerprinted with a court order: s. 136 LE (PAR) Act. The purpose is ID for the court, not the police: Carr  1 NSWLR 609. However the decision to take fingerprints or photographs will only be impugned if not made bona fide: McPhail and Tivey (1988) 36 A Crim R 390. In practice, anyone arrested and charged is fingerprinted.
It has been held that s. 133 LE (PAR) Act permits the police to take photographs and fingerprints not only to establish identity but also in order to prove that the suspect had committed the crime: Regina v SA, DD, and ES  NSWCCA 60.
The court can order particulars be taken of a defendant once an offence has been found proved once an offence is proved: s. 134 LE (PAR) Act.
It has been held that the predecessor to s. 133 LE (PAR) Act authorised the taking of
a sample of handwriting from a person who has been arrested to identify the person: Knight (2001) 120 A Crim R 381.
Where an officer of or above the rank of sergeant has reasonable grounds for believing a medical examination will provide evidence, can request a doctor to examine a person in custody: s. 138 LE (PAR) Act. This provision does not permit includes specimens of blood and semen: Fernando (1995) 78 A Crim R 64. However, authority to take such samples can be obtained under the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act (2000), discussed below.
'Custody' includes people in prison as well as people in police custody: Hawes v Governor of Goulburn Correctional Centre (NSW SC 3/9/97).
Under the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act (2000) police have been given wide powers to obtain forensic samples. The provisions are extremely complex and what follows is a summary.
The Evidence Act applies to applications under the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act (2000): TS v Constable Courtney James  NSWSC 984 esp. at para .
This legislation does not apply to DNA obtained other than by taking samples from a suspect, such as by examining a discarded cigarette butt: Kane (2004) 144 A Crim R 496.
Forensic Procedures with the Consent of the Person
Any forensic procedure can be carried out with the informed consent of the suspect (s. 7) Children and mentally incapable people cannot give their consent (s. 8). 'Informed consent' carries with a requirement that police inform the suspect of his rights and in particular the fact that the forensic procedure may produce evidence against the suspect which could be used in court (s. 13). The giving of information to the suspect and the suspect's responses 'must if practicable' be recorded electronically (s. 15).
If the suspect is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the police must notify an Aboriginal legal aid organisation, and must not ask the suspect to consent without an interview friend being present, unless the suspect expressly waives the right to have an interview friend (s. 10).
Forensic procedures can be carried out on 'volunteers' who are not suspects, with their informed consent, unless they are children or mentally incapable: s. 76.
'Non-Intimate' Forensic Procedures
Forensic procedures are divided into 'intimate' and 'non-intimate' procedures. Non-intimate forensic procedures include:
A 'senior police officer' (of the rank of sergeant or above) can order the making of a non-intimate forensic procedure on a person if the senior police officer is satisfied that:
(1) the suspect is under arrest;
(2) the suspect is not a child or an incapable person;
(3) there are reasonable grounds to believe that the suspect committed an indictable offence (or, in summary, a related offence);
(4) there are reasonable grounds for believing that the forensic procedure might produce evidence tending to confirm or disprove that the accused committed the offence; AND
(5) the carrying out of the forensic procedure without consent is justified in all the circumstances.
: s. 20 Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act.
Intimate Forensic Procedures
Intimate forensic procedures include:
Intimate forensic procedures can only be carried by order of a magistrate or other authorised justice, after a hearing at which the suspect must normally be present: s. 22. Before making such an order, the magistrate must be satisfied of the following:
(1) that the person is a suspect (defined as s. 3 as meaning someone who has been arrested or charged with the offence, or whom the police officer reasonably suspects of having committed the offence);
(2) that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the suspect had committed a prescribed (i.e. indictable) offence or a related offence;
(3) that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the particular forensic procedure might produce evidence tending to confirm or disprove that the suspect had committed the offence of which he was suspected; AND
(4) that the carrying out of the forensic procedure was justified in all the circumstances (having regard to the gravity of the offence, the seriousness of the circumstances of the offence (?), the degree to which the suspect is said to have been involved in the offence, the age, cultural background and physical/mental health of the suspect, whether there are other practical ways of obtaining the evidence, the reasons the suspect has given for refusing, the time the suspect has been in custody, and such other matters as the magistrate considers relevant
see s. 24 and Orban v Bayliss  NSWSC 428 at para .
The magistrate must make a finding that each of these matters have been established before an order can be made: Orban v Bayliss  NSWSC 428 at para . In particular, the magistrate must make a specific finding that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the suspect has committed the offence: Fawcett v Nimmo (2005) 156 A Crim R 431. It has been held that the magistrate can take into account hearsay material in making the determination: L v Lyons (2002) 56 NSWLR 600, 137 A Crim R 93. Before the magistrate makes an order requiring a suspect to give a sample of DNA, there must at least be a sample of DNA at the crime scene to match it with: Walker v Bugden (2005) 155 A Crim R 416 .
Forensic Procedures and Prisoners
These provisions apply to 'serious indictable offenders', that is prisoners serving sentences for offences which carry a maximum penalty of 5 years or more: s. 3 Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act. Police officers are given the power to make an order that a sample of hair (other than pubic hair) or a hand print, fingerprint, foot print or toe print be taken from a serious indictable offender in prison: s. 70 Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act . A magistrate's order is required for the taking of a sample of blood or a buccal swab: s. 74.
Period of Detention
A person who is under arrest can be detained by police for the 'investigation period' (s. 114 LE (PAR) Act). This period is a 'reasonable time', but no more than 4 hours or such longer period as extended by an investigation warrant: s. 115 LE (PAR) Act.
In determining what is a 'reasonable time', certain periods can be disregarded as 'dead time.' Periods which can be treated as 'dead time' are the following (in summary):
(a) time taken to convey the person to the nearest location with facilities for conducting forensic procedures;
(b) a reasonable time waiting for the arrival of police officers or people whose special skills are necessary for the investigation;
(c) time waiting for a tape recorder or video tape to become available to record a record of interview;
(d) time to allow the accused to communicate with (presumably by phone) a friend, relative, guardian, independent person, lawyer or consular official;
(e) time taken in waiting for one of the people referred to in (d) to arrive;
(f) time taken to allow the accused to consult at the place where he is detained with one of the people referred to in (d)
(g) time taken in arranging for and allowing the accused to have medical treatment;
(h) time waiting for an interpreter to arrive or become available;
(i) time reasonably required to arrange and conduct an identification parade;
(j) time for the accused to rest, receive refreshments, or go to the toilet;
(k) time for the accused to recover from intoxication from alcohol an/or drugs;
(l) time for the police to prepare, make and dispose of an application for a detention warrant or search warrant;
(m) time reasonably required to charge the accused.
(see s. 117 LE (PAR) Act). The person must be released during the investigation period or brought before a justice, magistrate or court within the investigation period or 'as soon as practicable' after the end of that period: s. 114 LE (PAR) Act.
Extensions to the Investigation Period
A magistrate or clerk of the Local Court can authorise an extension to the investigation period for a further period, up to 8 hours (s. 118 LE (PAR) Act). The application can be made orally or in writing.
The Rights of the Suspect
The custody manager at the police station is required to caution the suspect and summarise the provisions about detention: s. 122 LE (PAR) Act. The custody manager is required to inform the suspect before any investigative procedure starts that the suspect can contact a friend, relative or lawyer to inform them of his whereabouts, consult them, or in the case of a lawyer to be present during the investigative procedures. The custody manager is required to provide facilities for the suspect to communicate with the friend, relative or lawyer (s. 123 LE (PAR) Act).
Similarly the custody manager is obliged to inform foreign nationals of their right to communicate with a consular official of the country of which the suspect is a citizen (s. 124 LE (PAR) Act).The custody manager must arrange for an interpreter to be present during any investigative procedure if it appears that because of inadequate knowledge of English the person cannot communicate with reasonable fluency in English (s. 128 LE (PAR) Act).
'Vulnerable Persons': Children, Aboriginals, people with an intellectual disability, etc
Vulnerable persons are defined as:
(Regulation 24 LE (PAR)Regulations).
'Vulnerable persons' are entitled to have a support person present during any investigative
procedure: Regulation 27 LE (PAR) Regulations. Before any investigative procedure starts, the custody manager at
the police station must inform the 'vulnerable person' that he/she is entitled to
have a support person present during any investigative procedure (reg 27).
If the 'vulnerable person' wishes to have a support person present, the custody manager must provide 'reasonable facilities' to enable a support person to be present (presumably access to a telephone) and allow the 'vulnerable person' to communicate privately with the support person: reg 27 LE (PAR) Regulations. This includes the right to make a phone call to a legal practitioner (reg 25 LE (PAR) Regulations).
The custody manager is to inform the support person that he/she is not restricted to acting merely as an observer in the interview, but may assist and support the person being interviewed, observe whether or not the interview is being conducted fairly, and identify communication problems with the person being interviewed: reg 30 LE (PAR) Regulations.
The caution should be repeated in front of the support person: reg 34 LE (PAR) Regulations. A copy of a summary of the suspect's rights while in custody (formerly called the part 10A document) should be given to the support person
and any interpreter for the vulnerable person: reg 30 LE (PAR) Regulations.
Breaches of these regulations may be very significant in relation to the question of whether an alleged confession of the 'vulnerable person' is admissible.
In addition to the rights referred to in the preceding paragraph,
the custody manager of a police station must inform an Aboriginal or Torres Strait
Islander in custody that he will inform an Aboriginal legal aid organisation that
he is the suspect is in custody for an offence, and notify the Aboriginal legal aid
organisation accordingly: reg 33 LE (PAR) Regulations This requirement does not depend on the accused making a request
for an Aboriginal legal aid organisation to be contacted. As to the effect on the
admissibility of a confession made when this regulation was not complied with, see Helmhout (2001) 125 A Crim R 257.
(b) Search and Other Warrants
Surveillance Device Material
Generally speaking recording a private conversation of parties without their consent is unlawful: s. 7 Surveillance Devices Act. One exception is where the the person recording the conversation is a party to the conversation and records the conversation in order to protect that person's lawful interests: s. 7 (3) Surveillance Devices Act. This may permit a child complainant in a sexual assault case to record a conversation with an adult accused: DW v Regina  NSWCCA 28.
Surveillance Device Warrants.
The validity of a listening device warrants cannot be challenged in an inferior court (Murphy v The Queen (1989) 167 CLR 94, Love v The Queen (1990) 169 CLR 307) but may be able to be challenged in the Supreme Court (Carroll (1993) 70 A Crim R 162, Haynes (1996) PD , Ousley v The Queen (1997) 192 CLR 69, 71 ALJR 1548).
Contents of a Surveillance Device Warrant
A surveillance device warrant is required to contain (s. 20 Surveillance Devices Act):
A warrant must expressly authorise trespassing to install it for such a trespassory installation to be valid : Coco v The Queen (1994) 179 CLR 427, 68 ALJR 401.
Interception of Telephone Calls
Interception of telephone calls is governed by the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act (Commonwealth) 1997. What follows can only be a summary of these provisions. Generally it is not permissible to listen to or record a telephone call (the cumbersome phrase 'a communication passing over a telecommunications system' is used in the Act): s. 7 Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act. There are some important exceptions to this general rule:
Applications for a warrant
Applications for warrants can be made by state or federal police as well as a number of agencies including the Crime Commission and the ICAC (s. 39 Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act). Normally applications for a warrant must be made in writing, supported by an affidavit (except in urgent cases): s. 40 Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act. Applications are made to judges or nominated members of the AAT (s. 39 Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act). Applications are to include (s. 42 Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act):
Matters of which a judge must be satisfied for a warrant for a class 1 offence
Class 1 offences are defined in s. 5 of the Act and include murder, kidnapping, and terrorism offences. Before issuing a warrant for a telephone intercept for a class 1 offence, the judge/AAT member must be satisfied that (s. 46 Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act):
Matters of which a judge must be satisfied for a warrant for a class 2 offence
Serious offences are defined in s. 5D of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act. For the most part, they are offences carrying a maximum sentence of more than 7 years imprisonment. Before issuing a warrant for a telephone intercept for a class 2 offence, the judge/ AAT member must be satisfied that (s. 46 Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act):
Requirements for a warrant
Under s. 49 of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act, the warrant is required to be in the prescribed form in the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Regulations. The warrant must
Telephone Intercepts not authorised by warrant
If a telephone intercept has not been authorised by warrant, and is not authorised by one of the exceptions referred to above, it is inadmissible in evidence: s. 77 Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act. It is important to note that this is not subject to any discretion.
Applications for Search Warrants.
A police officer can apply (normally in writing ) for a search warrant setting out the grounds for believing that on premises there is something that is connected with an indictable, firearms, or drug, or child pornography offence or something stolen: s. 47 LE (PAR) Act.
If the issuing justice does not record the reasons for the warrant it is invalid: Carrol v Mijovich (1992) 58 A Crim R 243, Commissioner of Police v Atkinson (1991) 54 A Crim R 378. The search warrant must record on its face the offence to which the investigation related: Carver v Clerk of Blacktown Local Court (NSW SC 13/3/1998), Dover v Ridge (1998) 5 Crim LN  and Mazjoub v Kepreokis  NSWSC 314 esp at para . A reference to superceded legislation will not invalidate the warrant as long as there is reference to an identifiable offence: State of New South Wales v Corbett  HCA 32 overruling Corbett v NSW  NSWCA 138.
An occupier's notice must be handed to an occupier over 18: s. 67 LE (PAR) Act. Anything mentioned in the warrant and anything reasonably thought to be connected with any offence may be seized: s. 49 LE (PAR) Act. Any person in the premises reasonably believed to have a thing mentioned in the warrant may be searched: s. 50 LE (PAR) Act.
Search Warrants on Drug Premises
There are specific police powers relating to 'drug premises'. Any officer of or above the rank of sergeant can apply for a search warrant for premises which he/she believes on reasonable grounds is being used for the manufacture or supply of a prohibited drug: s. 140 LE (PAR) Act. If the warrant is granted the police have the power to search the premises and any person found on the premises: s. 142 LE (PAR) Act. Generally the provisions for the execution of ordinary search warrants described above apply: s. 59 LE (PAR) Act.
Common Law Powers
Police may only enter premises without a warrant if there is:
(Lippl v Haines (1989) 18 NSWLR 620, O'Neill (2001) 122 A Crim R 510).
Notices to Produce
Police can now apply for a notice to produce addressed to a financial institution to produce records: s. 53 LE (PAR) Act.
Entrapment in State Proceedings
The situation in relation to entrapment has been changed so far as state offences in New South Wales are concerned by the Law Enforcement (Controlled Operations) Act (1997). The definition section makes it clear that a 'controlled activity' is an illegal activity (s. 3).
A law enforcement officer can make an application in writing (or, in urgent cases, orally) to the chief executive officer of a law enforcement agency (usually the Commissioner of Police) for an authority to conduct a controlled operation. The application must include the plan of the proposed operation, the alleged nature of the criminal activity or corrupt conduct being investigated, the nature of the 'controlled activity' to be used, and a statement about whether there has been any earlier application (s. 5).
The chief executive officer may authorise the controlled operation if satisfied that
The power to issue an authority can be delegated but only
to an officer of or above the rank of superintendent (s. 29). A written statement of reasons
should be kept by the Chief Executive Officer (s. 6).
Importantly the legislation prohibits inducing or encouraging a person to commit criminal activity or corrupt conduct that the person could not reasonably be expected to engage in unless so induced or encouraged. It also prohibits conduct likely to seriously endanger the health and safety of any person, or cause serious damage to property (s. 7). In Gedeon v Commissioner of the NSW Crime Commission  HCA 43 it was held that this provision was breached when the Crime Commission authorised the sale of 6 kilos of cocaine knowing it was unlikely to be recovered.
The authority must be in writing and must indicate:
A law enforcement official and a civilian authorised to
engage in a 'controlled activity' does not constitute an offence (s. 16). A certificate issued by a chief executive officer of a law
enforcement agency to the effect that he/she was satisfied of matters referred to
in the certificate is conclusive evidence that he/she was so satisfied (s. 27).
Entrapment in Commonwealth Proceedings
There are similar provisions in ss. 15G to 15J of the Commonwealth Crimes Act. Once again, the Act does not apply of a person is intentionally induced to commit a crime, and the person would not otherwise have committed that offence or an offence of that kind (s. 15I)
Police should not question a child suspected of committing an offence unless there is a 'support person' present (not a police officer): Code of Practice for CRIME, p. 33, replacing Instruction 37.17.
In the Northern Territory special rules have been formulated for interrogation of Aboriginals. For example there should be a 'prisoners friend' present, the caution should be read back by the accused, the questions should not be leading, etc. These rules are called the Anunga Rules: Anunga (1976) 11 ALR 412. Under the Code of Practice for Crime, the custody manager is required to ensure that Aboriginal legal aid has been contacted: Code of Practice for CRIME, p. 12.
Police Questioning: suspects with an intellectual disability
Where a person is suspected of being developmentally delayed the interview should take place in the presence of a guardian, relative, friend or non-police professional: Police Instruction 37.14.
Records of Interview.
The defendant should be asked to read the interview aloud. The senior officer available not connected with the investigation should ask the defendant if it was a voluntary statement etc. The defendant should be supplied with a copy: Instruction 37.16.
'Preliminary Questioning' in Notebooks.
When a suspect makes a 'confession, admission or statement' in preliminary questioning, the police officer should 'record it in full in your notebook' (Code of Practice for CRIME pp. 25-6). 'Do not make notes elsewhere' (Police Service Handbook p. N-2). The suspect should be asked to sign the notebook. In any subsequent ERISP, the notebook entries should be read to the suspect who should be asked to comment on them (Code of Practice for CRIME p. 26).
Once a person has been charged they should only be interviewed when necessary to minimize loss or harm to some person, or about new matters, or to recover property: Instruction 37.14. According to the Code of Practice for CRIME, a person in custody has a 'right' to communicate with a friend, relative or legal guardian: CRIME at p. 15, replacing Instruction 155.
The Bail Act (2013)
The Bail Act (2013) commenced on 20 May 2014. I recommend a very good paper written by Lucinda Opper on the new act which can be found here. Subsequent to Lucinda's paper there have been some significant amendments to the Bail Act.
Applications under the Bail Act
Under the Bail Act, there can be three types of bail applications. They are (s. 48 Bail Act):
(a) a release application (made by the accused)
(b) a detention application application (made by the prosecutor)
(c) a variation application (which can be made by any 'interested person')
An 'interested person' who can make a variation application is an accused, a prosecutor, a complainant in a domestic violence offence, a person for whose benefit an apprehended violence order was made, or the Attorney-General (s. 51 Bail Act).
Offences where there is a right to release
There is a right to release on bail for offences for which the maximum penalty is a fine only, and offences under the Summary Offences Act (apart from certain specified offences): s. 21 Bail Act.
Where there is an appeal from the District Court or Supreme Court to the Court of Criminal Appeal, or to the High Court, bail can only be granted if there are 'special' or 'exceptional' circumstances: s. 22 Bail Act. Under the previous Bail Act, it was held that in practice this means it is necessary to show that the appeal is most likely to succeed: Regina v Wilson (1994) 34 NSWLR 1. Where the appeal is against a sentence imposed in the District Court, it needs to be shown at least that if bail is not granted the whole sentence will be served before the matter is heard in the CCA, or that there is an overwhelming likelihood that the appeal will succeed in the CCA : Tyler (1995) 80 A Crim R 371. It is overstating the case to say that a succesful appeal must be virtually inevitable to obtain appeals bail: El-Hili and Melville v Regina  NSWCCA 146 esp at para . The CCA has the power to grant bail: Milsom v Regina  NSWCCA 118.
'Show Cause' Offences
Where a bail authority is considering a case of an accused who is over 18, charged with a 'show cause' offence, the bail authority must refuse bail unless the accused shows cause why his or her detention is not justified: s. 16A (1) Bail Act. Once the accused has 'shown cause', the bail authority must then make a bail decision in accordance with the 'unacceptable risk' test: s. 16A (2) Bail Act. As to the 'unacceptable risk' test see below.
'Show cause' offences are set out in s. 16B Bail Act. In summary, they include:
Procedure for 'show cause' offences
For 'show cause' offences, the applicant must demonstrate on the balance of probabilities that his or her detention is not justified, and that test is separate from the 'unacceptable risk' test: DPP v Tikomaimaleya  NSWCA 83 esp at para . However, in many cases the considerations for each test may be the same: DPP v Tikomaimaleya  NSWCA 83 esp at para . It is not necessary to show special or exceptional circumstances in order to show cause: Moukhallaletti v DPP  NSWCCA 314 esp at para . A single powerful factor, or a powerful combination of factors may show cause: Moukhallaletti v DPP  NSWCCA 314 at para .
Flow Chart of decisions for 'show cause' offences
Section 16 Bail Act contains a flow chart of decisions for 'show cause offences' under the Bail Act:
Flow chart of decisions under the Bail Act
Section 16 Bail Act contains a flow chart of decisions under the Bail Act:
Is there an 'unacceptable risk'?
For other offences, the first issue which arises a 'bail authority' (an authorised police officer, or justice, or judge) determining bail is assess any 'bail concerns' of the defendant:
In determining assessing any 'bail concerns', the court is to consider the following matters, and only the following matters (s. 18 Bail Act):
(3) A bail authority is to consider the following matters, and only the following matters, in deciding whether there is an unacceptable risk:
(a) the accused person’s background, including criminal history, circumstances and community ties,
(b) the nature and seriousness of the offence,
(c) the strength of the prosecution case,
(d) whether the accused person has a history of violence,
(e) whether the accused person has previously committed a serious offence while on bail,
(f) whether the accused person has a history of compliance or non-compliance with bail acknowledgments, bail conditions, apprehended violence orders, parole orders or good behaviour bonds,
(g) whether the accused person has any criminal associations,
(h) the length of time the accused person is likely to spend in custody if bail is refused,
(i) the likelihood of a custodial sentence being imposed if the accused person is convicted of the offence,
(j) if the accused person has been convicted of the offence and proceedings on an appeal against conviction or sentence are pending before a court, whether the appeal has a reasonably arguable prospect of success,
(k) any special vulnerability or needs the accused person has including because of youth, being an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or having a cognitive or mental health impairment,
(l) the need for the accused person to be free to prepare for his or her appearance in court or to obtain legal advice,
(m) the need for the accused person to be free for any other lawful reason,
(n) the conduct of the accused person towards any victim of the offence, or any family member of a victim, after the offence,
(o) in the case of a serious offence, the views of any victim of the offence or any family member of a victim (if available to the bail authority), to the extent relevant to a concern that the accused person could, if released from custody, endanger the safety of victims, individuals or the community,
(p) the bail conditions that could reasonably be imposed to address any bail concerns in accordance with section 20A.
(q) whether the accused person has any associations with a terrorist organisation (within the meaning of Division 102 of Part 5.3 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code),
(r) whether the accused person has made statements or carried out activities advocating support for terrorist acts or violent extremism,
(s) whether the accused person has any associations or affiliation with any persons or groups advocating support for terrorist acts or violent extremism.
It has been stressed that the length of time the accused is likely to spend in custody is a significant matter: Regina v Alexandris  NSWSC 662 esp at para .
The views of the police about whether or not bail should be granted are irrelevant: DPP v Mawad  NSWCCA 227 esp at para .
In determining whether or not the offence is to be regarded as a serious offence, the following matters are to be considered (s. 17(4)):
(a) whether the offence is of a sexual or violent nature or involves the possession or use of an offensive weapon or instrument within the meaning of the Crimes Act 1900,
(b) the likely effect of the offence on any victim and on the community generally,
(c) the number of offences likely to be committed or for which the person has been granted bail or released on parole.
Some very recent cases have said that the onus is on the prosecution to establish that there is an unacceptable risk if the accused is granted bail: Regina v Alexandris  NSWSC 662 esp at para ). Cases in other jurisdictions with a similar test to the 'unacceptable risk' test have stated that although the risk must be more than a tenuous one or the worst fear, it is not necessary for the prosecution to establish that the risk is more probable than not: see for example Haidy v DPP  VSC 247 esp at paras  to . Some cases have emphasised that assessing 'unacceptable risk' involves not simply determining whether or not there is a risk that (for example) the offender will re-offend, but balancing that risk against the consequences for the accused (including the accused's right to be at liberty) if bail is refused': see for example Woods v DPP  VSC 1 esp at para .
Where there is no unacceptable risk, the bail authority must either release the defendant without bail, dispense with bail, or grant unconditional bail (s. 18 Bail Act).
Second Issue: Where there is are 'unacceptable risk', can it be sufficiently mitigated by bail conditions?
Where the bail authority has determined that there is an 'unacceptable risk', the bail authority must then determine whether or not the unacceptable risk can be sufficiently mitigated by bail conditions. Again, it has been held that the onus is on the prosecution, on the balance of probabilities, to establish that the 'unacceptable risk' cannot be mitigated: Regina v Lago  NSWSC 662 esp at para .
If the 'unacceptable risk' cannot be mitigated by bail conditions, bail can be refused: s. 19 Bail Act.
Third Issue: What should the bail conditions be?
Bail conditions can only be imposed to mitigate an unacceptable risk. Bail conditions can only be imposed if (s. 20A (2) Bail Act);
(a) the bail condition is reasonably necessary to address a bail concern, and
(b) the bail condition is reasonable and proportionate to the offence for which bail is granted, and
(c) the bail condition is appropriate to the bail concern in relation to which it is imposed, and
(d) the bail condition is no more onerous than necessary to address the bail concern in relation to which it is imposed, and
(e) it is reasonably practicable for the accused person to comply with the bail condition, and
(f) there are reasonable grounds to believe that the condition is likely to be complied with by the accused person.
Bail conditions can be:
A conduct requirement is a requirement that a person do or refrain from doing anything, but not providing security: s. 25 Bail Act.
A security requirement is a requirement that the accused or one or more other persons agree to forfeit a specified amount of money if the accused fails to appear in court, with or without security: s. 26 Bail Act.
A security requirement is only to be imposed to mitigate the risk of the accused not appearing in court (s. 26 (5)), and only if conduct requirements could not mitigate thata risk (s. 26(6)).
A character acknowledgment is an acknowledgment that a person is acquainted with the accused and regards him as a responsible person who is likely to comply with bail: s. 27 Bail Act.
A court may impose an accomodation requirement on a child to the effect that bail will not be granted until the authorities have made suitable arrangements for the accomodation of the child: s. 28 Bail Act.
A bail condition is a pre-release requirement if the condition must be complied with before the person is released on bail. The only bail conditions which may be pre-release requirements are (s. 29 Bail Act):
A court may impose an enforcement condition, requiring the defendant to comply with specified kinds of police directions to monitor compliance: s. 30 Bail Act.
Limitations on jurisdiction to consider bail
The Local Court and the District Court can make a decision about appeals bail after conviction if the accused has not yet appeared in a higher court: s. 62 Bail Act.
The Local Court can consider bail after committing an accused for sentence or trial to a higher court, but not after the accused has appeared in the District Court or Supreme Court: s. 68 Bail Act.
Further applications for bail
Where a court has refused bail, it is not to hear a further bail application for bail unless (s. 74 Bail Act):
Proof in bail applications
The purposes of the Bail Act include a requirement that bail authorities determinaing a bail application have regard to the presumption of innocence and the general right to be at liberty: s. 3 Bail Act. This suggests that the onus of proof is on the prosecution.
The burden of proof is on the balance of probabilities: s. 32 Bail Act.
The rules of evidence do not apply in bail applications: s. 31 Bail Act.
If the Crown appeals against a decision to grant bail and immediately so informs the court, the decision is stayed for 3 business days or until the Supreme Court decides otherwise (s. 40 Bail Act). There is no 'principle of restraint' in relation to applications for detention made in the CCA after Supreme Court bail has been granted: Regina v Marcus  NSWCCA 237, esp at para .
(e) Crime Commission and Related Bodies
The NSW Crime Commission
The NSW Crime Commission is increasingly important in the criminal investigatory process. What follows is simply some suggestions about the basics of appearing in the Crime Commission.
Appearing for an Witness in the Crime Commission
A person giving evidence before the Crime Commission can be legally represented (s. 22 Crime Commission Act). A particular legal representative can be refused leave to appear if the Commissioner believes on reasonable grounds and in good faith that such representation will prejudice its representation (s. 22 Crime Commission Act).
The Crime Commission can and usually does as a matter of course direct that evidence before it, and even the fact that a witness has given evidence before it, not be 'published': s. 45 Crime Commission Act.
Evidence Before the Commission
The rules of evidence do not apply in proceedings (s. 23 Crime Commissions Act), so objections are often reduced to complaints about ambiguous questions. In particular, objections based on the privilege against self-incrimination do not apply: s. 39 Crime Commission Act. Legal professional privilege does apply: s. 39(4) Crime Commission Act. So does the privilege attached to religious confessions: s. 40 Crime Commission Act.
By far the most important thing to know about proceedings in the Crime Commission is that evidence given by a witness is not admissible in proceedings against that witness (except for proceedings for perjury and related offences) if the witness objects: s. 39 Crime Commission Act. The Commissioner can declare that all answers or all answers of a particular class will be regarded as being given under objection: s. 39(6). If there is the faintest suspicion that your client is a suspect, you should advise him/her to object to giving evidence.
Failing to attend when served with a summons, or failing to take the oath, or failing to answer questions, is an offence which carries 20 penalty units or 2 years gaol: s. 25 Crime Commission Act. The requirements of proof of a failure to take an oath or affirmation have been strictly construed in Fehon v Domican (2002) 127 A Crim R 592 .
Providing the prosecution with transcripts of an accused's evidence from the Crime Commission
In X7 v Australian Crime Commission  HCA 29 a majority of the High Court held that there was no power to compulsorily examine an accused about an offence with which he has been charged (per French CJ and Crennan J at para , Hayne and Bell JJ at para , Kiefel J at para ).
The High Court has held that where the evidence of an accused who has given evidence before the Crime Commission about an alleged offence has been supplied to the investigating police and the prosecution, any resulting trial will give rise to a miscarriage of justice: Lee v the Queen  HCA 20.
The Crime Commission Act has been amended to permit the Crime Commission to seek leave of the Supreme Court to compulsorily examine an accused person about an offence: s. 35A Crime Commission Act. Whether or not this provision overrules X7 v Australian Crime Commission  HCA 29 is not clear. At least before a person is charged, the prosecution is entitled to have access to the transcript of the accused's evidence at ICAC: McDonald and Maitland v Regina  NSWCCA 306.
(f) Local Court Proceedings
What Offences are Summary Offences?
Summary offences are offences which:
Summary Proceedings: Commencing Proceedings
An information for a purely summary offence must be laid within 6 months of the offence being committed: s. 179 Criminal Procedure Act. Importantly, the 6 month time limit does not apply to indictable matters being dealt with summarily. However, if the matter is a penalty notice matter and the defendant has elected to have the matter dealt with in the Local Court, the time limit is extended to 12 months: s. 37A Fines Act.
power to ignore defects in the information under s. 16 Criminal Procedure Act does
not include a change to the elements of the offence: Ex parte Lovell; re Buckley
(1938) 38 SR NSW 153 Ex parte Burnett; Re Wicks  2 NSWLR 119. The information
must contain all the essential elements of the offence: John L v Attorney General of New South Wales (1987) 163 CLR 508 esp at para ,
Stanton v Abernathy (1990) 19 NSWLR 656.
Query if a charge can be withdrawn by an informant without being withdrawn dismissed: Gregg v O'Connor (Sully J, 21/4/92), overruled in Lay v Cleary [Bulletin 67]. A magistrate has no power to recharge: Suters v Harrington [CN 113].
A magistrate can order a stay of proceedings: DPP v Shirvanian (1998) 44 NSWLR 129.
Summary Proceedings: Service of a Brief
In all summary proceedings except those for which a penalty notice may be issued, if the defendant pleads not guilty the prosecution must serve on the defendant a copy of the brief of evidence, including all witness statements and proposed documentary exhibits, 14 days before the hearing or such other time as the magistrate determines (s. 183 Criminal Procedure Act). It appears that the brief should include listening device warrants and telephone intercept warrants (DPP v Webb  NSWSC 859) but not search warrants (DPP v Southorn  NSWSC 786).
If the brief is not served, the magistrate may dispense with service, adjourn the proceedings (s. 187 Criminal Procedure Act), or refuse to admit the evidence (s. 188 Criminal Procedure Act). In determining whether or not to refuse to admit the evidence the magistrate is exercising a discretionary judgement and should weigh up the competing policy considerations including the quick and efficient disposal of criminal proceedings (on the one hand) and the public's interest in prosecuting offenders: DPP v Fungavaka  NSWSC 917.
Must the defendant be present?
It has been held that where a defendant is not on bail, it is not necessary for the defendant to be personally present during a hearing if he or she is legally represented: McKellar v DPP  NSWSC 459.
Adjournments of Summary Proceedings
Refusal of an adjournment to a defendant can result in a procedural unfairness: Noble v DPP (2000) 118 A Crim R 305.
Where a defendant has been refused legal aid there is a right of appeal to the Legal Aid Review Committee (s. 56 Legal Aid Commission Act).
Where a defendant has appealed to the legal Aid Review Committee, or intends to so appeal, the court must adjourn the proceedings if the appeal is bona fide and not vexatious or frivolous or intended to delay proceedings unless there are special circumstances: s. 57 Legal Aid Commission Act.
In Lewis v Spencer  179 A Crim R 48 Rothman J said (at para ):
Prima facie the existence of an appeal or an intention requires the adjournment. It is only in circumstances where the appeal or intention to appeal is not bona fide, not frivolous or vexatious or not otherwise intended “to improperly hinder or improperly delay” the conduct of the proceedings that the adjournment may not be granted.
Summary Proceedings: Open, Closed, and Non-Publication Orders
Generally, summary proceedings are to be in open court, that is open to the public and the media: s. 191 Criminal Procedure Act. This general rule is subject to some important statutory and common law exceptions. In particular, under the Court (Suppresion and Non-Publication Orders) Act (2010) courts can make suppression or non-publication orders as to the identity of the accused, a witness, or any party to proceedings, or as to the evidence in proceedings, for a limited period.
In sexual assault cases (in particular in this context including indecent assault), the court can close the court (s. 291 Criminal Procedure Act). Such an order can include suppression of the name of the accused: Crampton v DPP (NSW C of A, 7/7/1997). In a decision about the predecessor of this section, it was held that the interests of the accused were relevant in determining whether or not to make an order forbidding publication: Nationwide News v District Court of NSW (1996) 40 NSWLR 486.
At common law, the power to make a non-publication order was limited. The name of an accused can be suppressed if it is necessary to secure the proper administration of justice: C v R (1993) 67 A Crim R 562 at 565. It was held that the District Court had no power to order the non-publication of the fact of a verdict even if there were to be later trials of the same accused: John Fairfax Publications v District Court of New South Wales (2004) 61 NSWLR 344.
Order of Addresses
An argument that the defence has the right to address last in summary proceedings has been rejected: Mason v Lyon  NSWSC 804.
Summary Proceedings: Costs
Normally costs will not be awarded to a successful defendant unless the investigation was unreasonable or the proceedings were initiated without reasonable cause: s. 214 Criminal Procedure Act. An adjournment can be granted on condition that the Crown pays costs: Le Bouriscot (1996) PD .
Indictable Proceedings Dealt with Summarily.
Indictable proceedings may dealt with summarily if they a Table 1 or Table 2 offence. The election cannot be made after the evidence commences or the facts are tendered (s. 263 Criminal Procedure Act). Where an election is made the maximum penalty is generally 2 years imprisonment (s. 267 Criminal Procedure Act, for Table 1 and s. 268 Criminal Procedure Act, for Table 2).
A magistrate cannot impose a cumulative sentence on a prisoner who is serving a sentence which would mean that the new sentence would expire more than five years after the existing sentenced commenced : s. 58 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
Table 1 offences are to be dealt with summarily unless the prosecutor or the defendant elects (section 260 Criminal Procedure Act). They are generally more serious than Table 2 offences. The complete list of Table 1 offences can be found in Schedule 1 of the Criminal Procedure Act. The offences include:
Table 2 offences are to be dealt with summarily unless the prosecutor elects (s. 260 Criminal Procedure Act). They are generally the less serious offences. The complete list of Table 2 offences can be found in Schedule 1 of the Criminal Procedure Act. The offences include:
A committal is an administrative proceeding in the Local
Court to determine whether or not a person charged with an indictable offence should
be committed for trial or sentence in the Supreme Court or District Court (s. 3 Criminal Procedure Act).
Procedure in Committals
The magistrate hearing the committal must set a timetable for the prosecution to serve a copy of the brief (including statements of all witnesses) on the defendant, and for the defendant to indicate which witnesses are required to give oral evidence (s. 60 Criminal Procedure Act).
If a witness is not required to give oral evidence, the witness' statement can be tendered. Practitioners should be very conscious of the fact that if a crucial witness is not required for cross-examination, and the witness's statement is tendered at the committal, if that witness later dies or is so ill that he/she cannot give evidence, the statement can be tendered at trial: s. 285 Criminal Procedure Act. As a result in if a witness gives damaging evidence against the accused, which evidence is in dispute, it is always preferable to require that witness to give evidence at committal. Even if nothing is achieved in cross-examination, the simple fact of the witness having to give an account on oath creates a potential prior inconsistent statement.
Committals: Requiring Witnesses for Cross-examination
The magistrate should not require a witness in an offence involving violence (eg attempted murder, reckless wounding, reckless inflict grievous bodily harm, abduction, robbery, sexual assault) to give evidence unless there are 'special reasons in the interests of justice': s. 93 Criminal Procedure Act. The phrase 'in the interests of justice' has been held in another context to refer to incorporate 'as a paramount consideration that an accused person should have a fair trial' : Chapman v Gentle (1986) A Crim R 29.
Special reasons may include where the Crown case is weak, ID in issue, inconsistent versions, victim's willingness to testify: Baines v Gould (1993) 67 A Crim R 297. Special reasons may include where the complainant in a sexual assault case is vague about the dates of the offences: Kennedy (1997) 94 A Crim R 341, TS v George (1998) 5 Crim LN . This applies to indictable matters which can be dealt with summarily unless summary jurisdiction is actually offered: Kant (1994) PD , CN .
For other types of offences, the magistrate should not require a witness to give evidence unless there are 'substantial' reasons in the interests of justice: s. 91 Criminal Procedure Act. 'Substantial reasons' is 'obviously much wider' than special reasons: Kennedy (1997) 94 A Crim R 341. 'Substantial' does not mean special. It is not necessary to show that the case is exceptional or unusual. It may be that substantial reasons could be shown in a majority of cases: Losurdo v DPP (1998) 44 NSWLR 618, (1997) 101 A Crim R 196 (approved by the Court of Appeal in Losurdo (1998) 44 NSWLR 618, 103 A Crim R 189), this decision appears to have the specific approval of the former Attorney General: see 'Committals in NSW' (2000) 74 ALJ 24).
It is necessary to show that the reasons 'have substance in the context of the nature of committal proceedings and the provisions of the Justices Act relating to them': Losurdo (1998) 103 A Crim R 189.
If the parties agree that a witness be required to attend, the magistrate must so order: s. 91(2) Criminal Procedure Act.
'Substantial reasons' can include a case where cross-examination might substantially undermine the credit of a significant prosecution witness: Losurdo v DPP (1998) 44 NSWLR 618. They can also include a case where the matters to be the subject of cross-examination go only to the exercise of the discretion of the trial judge (and thus strictly outside the jurisdiction of the magistrate): Losurdo v DPP (1998) 44 NSWLR 618. The availability of 'Basha' type voir dires and pre-trial applications at trial is no justification for not permitting cross-examination at the committal: Dawson v DPP  NSWSC 1147. The magistrate needs to consider separately in relation to each witness whether the witness should be required: Hanna v Kearney (1998) 5 Crim LN . 'Substantial reasons' might include narrowing the matters in dispute: Hanna v Kearney. 'Substantial reasons' are not limited to matters which might result in discharge at committal: Hanna v Kearney.
In JW v DPP  NSWSC 1244 Simpson J said:
It is not possible to define the boundaries of "substantial reasons" in this context: Losurdo, C of A, pp 622, 632. A potential narrowing of the issues to be determined at trial, if the defendant is committed, is within the term; so also is the possibility of establishing the foundation for a challenge to the admission or admissibility of evidence (Hanna p 8; Losurdo, C of A pp 631-2); the possibility of significantly undermining the credibility of a Crown witness (Losurdo, C of A p 631); clarification of the evidence proposed to be called so as to avoid a defendant being taken by surprise at a trial (Losurdo, C of A, p 631); and the opportunity of gaining relatively precise knowledge of the case against the defendant (Hanna, p 5).
In Sim v Magistrate Corbett  NSWSC 665 Whealy J. said (at para ) of these applications:
20 I shall now set out, in summary form, my understanding of a number of the relevant principles. Because of its brief nature, this statement will not be as elegantly expressed as the full statement of the principles in earlier decisions. Secondly, I will not attempt to summarise every principle arising from previous authority. Thirdly, I will emphasise, where necessary, matters that are of significance to the present dispute. I take the relevant principles to be as follows: -
A witness cannot be required for cross-examination if the Crown indicates that the Crown no longer relies on the evidence: DPP v Tanswell (1998) 103 A Crim R 205. Where a witness has been required for cross-examination because of particulars matters, normally cross-examination will be restricted to those matters.
Committals: Taking of Evidence
When a witness is required to give evidence in a paper committal, the prosecution is not entitled to merely tender the statement of the witness in chief unless the parties consent, or if the magistrate is satisfied that there are substantial reasons in the interests of justice why this should be done: section 91(4) Criminal Procedure Act.
The discretion to reject evidence should not be exercised: section 70 Criminal Procedure Act, Grassby v The Queen (1989) 168 CLR 1, 63 ALJR 630, (1989) 15 NSWLR 109.
Committals: Open, Closed, and Non-Publication Orders
Generally, committal proceedings are to be in open court, that is open to the public and the media: s. 56 Criminal Procedure Act This general rule is subject to some important statutory and common law exceptions. In particular, under the Court (Suppresion and Non-Publication Orders) Act (2010) courts can make suppression or non-publication orders as to the identity of the accused, a witness, or any party to proceedings, or as to the evidence in proceedings, for a limited period. In sexual assault cases (in particular in this context indecent assault), the court can close the court (s. 291 Criminal Procedure Act) and can also forbid the publication of part or all of the evidence (s. 292 Criminal Procedure Act). Such an order can include suppression of the name of the accused: Crampton v DPP (NSW C of A, 7/7/1997). In a decision about the predecessor of this section, it was held that the interests of the accused were relevant in determining whether or not to make an order forbidding publication: Nationwide News v District Court of NSW (1996) 40 NSWLR 486.
At common law, the power to make non-publication orders is more limited. The name of an accused can be suppressed if it is necessary to secure the proper administration of justice: C v R (1993) 67 A Crim R 562 at 565.
Committals: the Test.
At the close of the prosecution case in a committal the magistrate must determine whether or not there is a prima facie case: s. 62 Criminal Procedure Act. At the conclusion of all the evidence (this may be immediately after; it is very unusual for the defence to call evidence at a committal), the magistrate must then determine whether or not 'there is a reasonable prospect that a jury would convict': s. 64 Criminal Procedure Act.
If the magistrate decides that there is a reasonable prospect that a jury would convict, the defendant is committed for trial to either the District or the Supreme Court. If the magistrate decides that there is no reasonable prospect that a jury would convict, the magistrate must discharge the defendant.
Magistrates are not precluded from making their own assessment of the evidence and of the credibility of witnesses: Saffron (1989) 16 NSWLR 397. The assessment can take into account a prediction of whether the trial judge will exclude evidence in the exercise of his discretion: Grassby v The Queen (1989) 168 CLR 1.
Decisions of magistrates
The magistrate is required to give adequate reasons for a decision and failure to do so will constitute an error of law: DPP v Elias  NSWSC 28 esp at para .
The application for costs must be made on the day when the charge is dismissed: Fosse (1989) 42 A Crim R 289. Costs will only be awarded if the proceedings were initiated without reasonable cause or bad faith or the investigation was unreasonable or improper: s. 117 Criminal Procedure Act. There is no power to award costs in commitals under the Costs in Criminal Cases Act: DPP v Howard (2005) 64 NSWLR 139.
Lack of (Proper) Committal.
If a magistrate declines to commit an ex officio indictment can still be presented: Kolalich v DPP (1991) 173 CLR 222, 66 ALJR 25, Bartalesi and Fragassi (NSW CCA 24/6/97).
Lack of a (proper) committal does not of
itself entitle a stay of the trial: Butler (1991) 56 A Crim R 231, Duffield and Dellapetrona
(1992) 64 A Crim R 18. The Crown is not obliged to frame the indictment in terms
of the counts in the committal: Kolalich (1990) 19 NSWLR 520.
Effect of a No Bill
A no bill will only justify a stay of later proceedings if there is a degree of double jeopardy (such as a case being no billed during the course of the trial): Mellifont (1992) 64 A Crim R 75, Swingler (1995) 80 A Crim R 471. See also Regina v Burrell  NSWCCA 185. In particular if there is a no bill after discharge at committal, the Crown will not be preventd from filing a further ex officio indictment: D v Regina  NSWCCA 60 (not currently available on the internet).
Police who search an advocate's papers may be in contempt of court even if they believe that it contains documents suspected of being stolen: MacDonald and Shilling (1993) 70 A Crim R 478.
Local Court Flow Chart
Following a reader's suggestion, I have prepared a Local Court flow chart.
2/. Trial Procedure and Appeals
Legitimate Forensic Purpose.
Counsel calling upon the subpoena should be able to identify with precision the legitimate forensic purpose for which the document is sought: Saleam (1989) 39 A Crim R 406, Alister v The Queen (1983-4) 154 CLR 404. It must be 'on the cards' that the documents would assist the defence case. A report by a principal Crown witness about the case is an example of such a document, even if nothing is known about its contents: Alister at 414, 451. Prima facie anything which might provide for proper and fruitful cross-examination is allowable: Maddison v Goldrick  1 NSWLR 651 esp at 663-4, Saleam. For example, in a case where the prosecution relied on only a small proportion of a large group of a large group of intercepted calls, there was held to be a legitimate forensic purpose in requiring production of the other tapes: Regina v Taylor (2007) 169 A Crim R 543.
It is not a 'legitimate forensic purpose' to want to check if the Law Enforcement (Controlled Operations) Act has been complied with: AG v Chidgey  NSWCCA 65.
A subpoena will be set aside if it is too wide, for example if it requires production of all documents relating to a particular subject area (Small (1938) 38 SR (NSW) 564) although the words 'relating to' in themselves are not necessarily fatal: Spencer Motors v LNC  2 NSWLR 921. Once the documents are produced it is too late to take this objection: Saleam.
Public Interest Immunity.
When public interest immunity is claimed, the court must weigh up the public interest in non-disclosure with the public interest in the administration of justice. In a criminal case it is sufficient if the accused can establish that the documents will materially assist his case: Alister.
Special Classes of Public Interest Immunity.
Some classes of evidence will not be required to be disclosed unless the evidence is necessary to establish the innocence of the accused:
It seems that costs cannot be ordered in favour of a party who successfully opposes production of documents under subpoena: Stanizzo v Complaint  NSWCCA 295 and Ansett Holdings (Qld SC, (1997) 94 A Crim R 7) but compare Carter v Mallesons (WA FC 15/7/93).
(b) Trial Procedure
Normally an unrepresented accused should be granted an adjournment if he can prove that it was through no fault of his own: Dietrich v The Queen (1993) 177 CLR 292, 67 ALJR 1 (1992) 64 A Crim R 176, Small (1994) 72 A Crim R 462. Lack of an adequate interpreter may suffice to quash a conviction: Saraya (1994) 70 A Crim R 515. Where the Crown seeks an adjournment, the court can tell the Crown that the adjournment will not be granted unless the Crown agrees to pay costs: Moseley (1992) 65 A Crim R 452.
Constitutional Guarantee of Jury Trial.
Under s. 80 of the Constitution a person tried on indictment for a Commonweath matter is guaranteed jury trial even if he consents to summary trial: Brown v The Queen (1986) 160 CLR 171, 60 ALJR 257. Verdicts must be unanimous: Cheatle v The Queen (1993) 177 CLR 541, 67 ALJR 76 esp at para . This does not mean that there must be 12 jurors: Brownlee v The Queen (2001) 207 CLR 278, 75 ALJR 1180.
Judge Alone Trial.
A person can elect to be tried by judge alone if the DPP consents: s. 132 Criminal Procedure Act. The judge alone election must be made no later than 28 days before the trial, except by leave of the court: s. 132A Criminal Procedure Act. The election is made by the accused signing a Judge Alone Election under s. 132 Criminal Procedure Act. If the DPP does not consent to the judge alone procedure, the judge may still order a judge alone trial if the accused consents and it is in the interests of justice to do so: s. 132 (4) Criminal Procedure Act. The provision states that the court may refuse the application if the crial will involve the application of community standards, such as reasonableness, negligence, indecency, obscenity, or dangerousness (s. 132 (5) Criminal Procedure Act). A judge can also order a judge alone trial if there is a substantial risk of jury tampering: s. 132(7) Criminal Procedure Act.
Where the accused seeks a judge alone trial, and the prosecution opposes it, there is no presumption in favour of a judge alone trial, nor does the accused have a burden of proof to establish that there should be a judge alone trial, although there is an evidentiary onus: Regina v Belghar  NSWCCA 86 at para . The fact that the accused elects to be tried by judge alone is a relevant factor in determining whether or not a judge alone trial would be in the interests of justice: Regina v Simmons and Moore (No. 4)  NSWSC 259, approved in Redman v Regina  NSWCCA 110 at para . There is no consensus in the cases that where there are issues of credibility that factor militates strongly in favour of a jury trial: Regina v Simmons and Moore (No. 4)  NSWSC 259 at para , approved by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal in Redman v Regina  NSWCCA 110 at para . In Redman the Court of Criminal Appeal held that it was an error of law to reject an application for a judge alone trial on the basis of an assumption that a jury was a superior tribunal of fact in a word against word case (at para ).
There cannot be a judge alone trial in a prosecution under a Commonwealth law, because of s. 80 of the Constitution: Brown v The Queen (1986) 160 CLR 171, Alqudsi v The Queen  HCA 24 esp at para .
The accused can withdraw his consent to a judge alone trial at any time before trial by signing and filing an Election under s. 132A (3) Criminal Procedure Act. It appears that an accused cannot withdraw his election to be tried judge alone after the trial has commenced: Regina v Hevesi-Nagy  NSWSC 755.
The judgment justifying a verdict in a judge alone trial must refer to the relevant principles of law including warnings of which a jury would be directed to take into account: s. 133 Criminal Procedure Act, Fleming v The Queen (1999) 197 CLR 250, 73 ALJR 1. A judge sitting in a judge alone trial can give himself a Prasad direction, that is a direction that he can return a verdict of not guilty at any stage, including before the defence case and addresses: Regina v Taousanis  NSWSC 57.
Stay of Proceedings
A permanent stay of proceedings will only be granted in an extreme case: Jago v District Court (NSW) (1989) 168 CLR 23 at 34. It is necessary to show that the continuation of proceedings would involve an involve unacceptable injustice or unfairness, or be so unfairly and unjustifiably oppressive as to constitute an abuse of process: The Queen v Edwards (2009) 255 ALR 399 esp at . The High Court in a unanimous judgment has said that a statement of Mason and Toohey JJ. in The Queen v Glennon (1992) 173 CLR 592 (at para ) that 'a stay of proceedings will only be ordered in an extreme case and there must be a fundamental defect of such a nature that nothing a trial judge can do in the conduct of the trial can relieve against its unfair consequences' as an authoratative statement of principle: Dupas v The Queen  HCA 20 at para .
A stay of proceedings until particulars were supplied was upheld in Compston (1993) PD . A temporary stay of proceedings was granted where there had been considerable publicity about similar but unrelated sexual assault allegations in Re K  NSWCCA 374.
A long delay in instituting proceedings of itself (even
of over 30 years) will not justify a stay, unless there is evidence of prejudice
to the accused: Birdsall (NSW CCA 3/3/97). A stay
of proceedings was granted when a matter was not reached 5 times and witnesses and
evidence disappeared: Nicholson (1998) 5 Crim LN . A stay was refused where
Crown exhibits had disappeared in Roberts (1999) 106 A Crim R 67. In The Queen v Edwards (2009) 255 ALR 399 the High Court allowed an appeal against a stay of proceedings in a 6 year old case where the exhibits had gone missing. In RM v Regina  NSWCCA 35 the CCA upheld a decision to refuse to grant a stay in a 20 year old sexual assault special hearing because of the difficulty in obtaining evidence of the appellant's mental health. In TS v Regina  NSWCCA 174 the Court of Criminal Appeal granted a stay in a 37 year old complaint where the accused was 77 years old and in ill health.
No one count in an indictment should charge more than one offence or it is duplicitous: Molloy  2 KB 364, Morrow and Flynn (1990) 48 A Crim R 232, S v The Queen (1989) 168 CLR 266, 45 A Crim R 221, Stanton v Abernathy (1990) 48 A Crim R 16, Walsh v Tattersall (1996) 188 CLR 77, 88 A Crim R 496. This applies to individual acts of sexual intercourse: Khouzame and Saliba (1999) 108 A Crim R 170. Each element of the offence must be stated in the indictment: Mai (1991) 60 A Crim R 49.
An indictment can contain mutually exclusive or inconsistent counts: Thomson and Dann (2002) 134 A Crim R 252.
The Crown is required to present an indictment within 4 weeks after committal: s. 129 Criminal Procedure Act. However the court has a discretion to permit the trial to proceed even if the indictment is filed out of time: s. 129(4) and JSM v Regina  NSWCCA 255.
The time for presentation of an indictment can be extended by order of the court, but cannot be extended after the time for filing an indictment has expired: rule 53.10F of the District Court Rules. If the indictment is not presented within the relevant time, the court may proceed with the trial, adjourn the proceedings, or take such other action as the court thinks fit.
The indictment must be filed in the court registry and a copy must be served on the accused or his legal representative within 14 days of filing the indictment: Rule 53.10D of the District Court Rules. After an indictment is presented, it may not be amended unless the accused consents or with leave of the court: s. 20 Criminal Procedure Act. The prohibition applies to substituting a fresh indictment: s. 20(3) Criminal Procedure Act. It also applies to ex officio indictments: Sepulveda  NSWCCA 131.
The indictment can be amended at nearly any time during a trial if the amendment does not cause an injustice to the accused (s. 21 Criminal Procedure Act, s. 22 Criminal Procedure Act, Stuart (1996) PD , and MM v R  NSWCCA 262), but not after verdict and conviction: Lewis (1992) 63 A Crim R 18 at 27.
In a single trial, there can only be one indictment: Swansson and Henry (2007) 168 A Crim R 263.
An indictment can be signed by the Attorney General, the Solicitor, the Director of Public Prosecutions, a deputy DPP, or a Crown Prosecutor, or a person authorised in writing to sign indictment: s. 126 Criminal Procedure Act. If the indictment is signed by a private Crown prosecutor not so authorised ( it seems few private Crowns are so authorised), any trial or conviction which follows is a nullity: Janceski (2005) 64 NSWLR 10.
Pre Trial Disclosure Generally
In cases where there is no order for pre-trial disclosure, there are still limited requirements for pre-trial disclosure.
Prosecution Obligation of Disclosure
Under the Bar Rules, prosecutors are required to disclose to the defence all material which could constitute evidence relevant to the guilt or innocence of the accused (see rule 66). At common law, the Crown is obliged to inform the defence of any material which could be sensibly seen as:
(1) to be relevant or possibly relevant to an issue in the case;
(2) to raise or possibly raise a new issue whose existence is not apparent from the evidence the prosecution proposes to use;
(3) to hold out a real (as opposed to fanciful) prospect of providing a lead on evidence which goes to (1) or (2).
including previous inconsistent statements and previous convictions of Crown witnesses: Bradshaw (1997) 4 Crim LN  (WA CCA), Reardon (2004) 60 NSWLR 454, 146 A Crim R 475 , Spiteri (2004) 61 NSWLR 369 , Livingstone (2004) 150 A Crim R 117.
Material in a victim impact statement should be disclosed to the defence prior to the trial if it contains material which was sufficiently solid to cause reasonable prosecutors to think that cross-examination based on the information might elicit answers materially affecting the credibility of the witness: Lewis-Hamilton (Vic CCA 8/4/97).
In England it has been held that Crown is not obliged to supply the defence with prior inconsistent statements of defence witnesses: Regina v Brown (H of L) (1998) AC 367.
Defence Obligations of Pre trial Disclosure
Similarly, even if there is no order for pre-trial disclosure, the defence needs leave of the court to call evidence of alibi unless a Notice of Alibi was served on the DPP at least 42 days before the trial is listed for hearing: s. 150 Criminal Procedure Act. The notice must contain names and addresses of witnesses to be called in support of the alibi. See the paragraph headed 'Alibi' below. The defence must also give notice of an intention to rely on the defence of substantial impairment in a murder trial under s. 151 Criminal Procedure Act. See the paragraph headed 'Notice' in the Chapter on 'Defences'.
Orders For Pre-Trial Disclosure
Under amendments which came into force on 1 September 2013, both the prosecution and the defence are required to make pre-trial disclosure in accordance in accordance with a timetable set down by the court: s. 141 Criminal Procedure Act.
In the District Court, under Practice Note 9 (District Court Practice Notes can be downloaded here), unless the Court otherwise orders, the following time table applies:
In The Supreme Court, under revised Practice Note 2 (which can be downloaded here) unless the Court otherwise orders, the following timetable applies:
Prosecution Disclosure Where an Order is Made For Pre Trial Disclosure
The prosecution disclosure should include (s. 142 Criminal Procedure Act):
(a) a copy of the indictment
(b) a statement of facts
(c) copies of statements of all witnesses proposed to be called at the trial by the prosecution
(d) copies of all documents proposed to be tendered by the prosecution
(e) if the prosecution proposes to tender a summary of evidence, a copy of that sumary
(f) copies of any document which the prosecution proposes to tender
(g) a copy of chart or explanatory material which the prosecution proposes to tender
(h) if any expert witness is to be called by the Crown, a copy of each report of that witness relevant to the prosecution or defence case
(i) any document, information or any other thing that would be reasonably regarded as relevant to the prosecution or defence case
(j) a list identifying any document, information or other thing which would reasonably be regarded as being relevant to the case and which is not in the possession of the prosecution, with information about where this material might be located
(k) a copy of any information in the possession of the prosecutor that is relevant to the reliability or credibilty of any prosecution witness
(l) a copy of any information, document, or other thing in the possession of the prosecution that would reasonably be regarded as being adverse to the credibilty or credit of the accused
(m) a list of witnesses identifying the statements of those witnesses who are going to be called at trial by the prosecution
There is a continuing obligation upon the prosecution to
disclose: s. 147 Criminal Procedure Act.
Defence Response Where an Order is Made For Pre Trial Disclosure
The defence Response is to include (s. 143(1)):
(a) the name of any Australian legal practitioner proposed to appear on behalf of the accused person at the trial,
(b) the nature of the accused person’s defence, including particular defences to be relied on,
(c) the facts, matters or circumstances on which the prosecution intends to rely to prove guilt (as indicated in the prosecution’s notice under section 142) and with which the accused person intends to take issue,
(d) points of law which the accused person intends to raise,
(e) notice of any consent that the accused person proposes to give at the trial under section 190 of the Evidence Act 1995 in relation to each of the following:
(i) a statement of a witness that the prosecutor proposes to adduce at the trial,
(ii) a summary of evidence that the prosecutor proposes to adduce at the trial,
(f) a statement as to whether or not the accused person intends to give any notice under section 150 (Notice of alibi) or, if the accused person has already given such a notice, a statement that the notice has been given,
(g) a statement as to whether or not the accused person intends to give any notice under section 151 (Notice of intention to adduce evidence of substantial mental impairment).
If the Court orders, the defence response is to also include (s. 143(2)):
(a) a copy of any report, relevant to the trial, that has been prepared by a person whom the accused person intends to call as an expert witness at the trial,
(b) if the prosecutor disclosed an intention to adduce evidence at the trial that has been obtained by means of surveillance, notice as to whether the accused person proposes to require the prosecutor to call any witnesses to corroborate that evidence and, if so, which witnesses will be required,
(c) notice as to whether the accused person proposes to raise any issue with respect to the continuity of custody of any proposed exhibit disclosed by the prosecutor,
(d) if the prosecutor disclosed an intention to tender at the trial any transcript, notice as to whether the accused person accepts the transcript as accurate and, if not, in what respect the transcript is disputed,
(e) notice as to whether the accused person proposes to dispute the authenticity or accuracy of any proposed documentary evidence or other exhibit disclosed by the prosecutor,
(f) notice of any significant issue the accused person proposes to raise regarding the form of the indictment, severability of the charges or separate trials for the charges,
(g) notice of any consent the accused person proposes to give under section 184 of the Evidence Act 1995 (formal admissions).
Prosecution Response to the Defence Response
The prosecution must indicate what expert evidence is in dispute and what material which the defence has indicated it wishes to tender will be objected to: s. 144.
Sanctions for Non-Compliance with Pre-Trial Disclosure
Sanctions for non-compliance with pre-trial disclosure include:
The court may not prevent an accused from adducing evidence or comment on the accused's non-compliance unless the prosecution has complied with the pre-trial disclosure requirements: s. 146 Criminal Procedure Act.
If an accused fails to comply with the requirements of diclosure, the prosecution or any other party with leave of the court can make comment, and the court or jury draw such unfavourrable inferences as appear proper: s. 146A Criminal Procedure Act.
Late service of expert reports by the Crown
The late service of expert reports by the Crown may lead to a miscarriage of justice: Haoui v Regina  NSWCCA 209 .
Withdrawing a Plea.
A plea of guilty can be withdrawn if the defendant shows that otherwise there has been/would be a miscarriage of justice: Chiron  1 NSWLR 218 at 235, Boag (1994) 73 A Crim R 35 at 36. A plea of guilty is regarded as an admission to all the legal ingredients of the offence: Sagiv (1986) 22 A Crim R 73. In order for the defendant to establish that a plea of guilty to be withdrawn, he must demonstrate that there there is some circumstance which shows that the plea was not attributable to a genuine consciousness of guilt: Boag at 37.
Circumstances which may support the withdrawal of a plea include:
The onus is on the accused to show that there has been a miscarriage: Boag (1994) 73 A Crim R 35.
If the plea of guilty has been entered during the course
of the trial, and the judge has accepted the plea under s. 157 Criminal Procedure Act, there
is no discretion in the trial judge to later allow the plea to be withdrawn: Hura (2001) 121 A Crim R 472 .
The Crown can accept a plea to any lesser charge of which the accused could be lawfully convicted: s. 153 Criminal Procedure Act, Andrew Foster Brown (1989) 44 A Crim R 385, Chow (1992) 63 A Crim R 316. The judge cannot reject a plea unless something suggests that the plea is not genuine: Maxwell v The Queen (1996) 184 CLR 501. The judge is not bound by an agreement between the parties as to the factual basis of the plea: GAS and SJK v The Queen (2004) 217 CLR 198. The Crown will be permitted to withdraw acceptance of a plea where to do otherwise would bring the system of justice into disrepute: Filioemaha (2003) 138 A Crim R 299.
An application for separate trials can be made at any time (s. 21 Criminal Procedure Act) although it is preferable to make the application prior to the trial. There may be an application for a separate trial in two situations:
As to the first situation, in sexual assault trials at least, there should be separate trials unless the evidence is admissible as tendency or coincidence evidence ('similar fact'): De Jesus v The Queen (1986) 68 ALR 1, Sutton v The Queen (1984) 152 CLR 528 (Brennan).
As to the second situation, prima facie the rule is that where a number of people are charged with committing the same crime, they should be tried together: Webb and Hay v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 41 (esp para 25), The applicant has the onus of showing that a 'positive injustice' would be caused if there was a joint trial: Middis, Hunt J, u/r 27/3/1999, Patsalis and Spathis (1999) 107 A Crim R 432.
There was some authority that where there was a cut-throat defence (that is, each accused blaming the other), there should be a separate trial (Farrell and Cotton (1990) 48 A Crim R 311). However the more recent trend of cases is that in where there is a cut throat defence, there should be a joint trial, unless there was some 'special or other' feature which required separate trials: Ali v The Queen (2005) 214 ALR 1, 79 ALJR 662 (see esp para ), and Fernando  NSWCCA 66. There should be separate trials when
A separate trial should be granted when:
1. Where the evidence against an applicant for a separate trial is significantly weaker than and different to that admissible against another, or the other accused to be jointly tried with him; and
2. Where the evidence against those other accused contains material highly prejudicial to the applicant, although not admissible against him; and
3. Where there is a real risk that the weaker Crown case against the applicant will be made immeasurably stronger by reason of the prejudicial material,
a separate trial will usually be ordered in relation to the charges against the applicant. The applicant must show that positive injustice would be caused to him in a joint trial (Middis, Hunt J, u/r 27/3/1991, quoted in Dinh (2000) 120 A Crim R 42 at para . In Pham  NSWCCA 190 at paras  to  it was doubted that it was necessary to show that the case against the accused was weaker. It was also said that 'immeasurably' in this context means 'significant, though incommensurate' or disproportionate.
Where an accused faces a number of separate trials, there is no principle that the most serious matter should be tried first: Giovannone (2001) 119 A Crim R 519.
Change of Venue.
In order to obtain a change of venue the accused must satisfy the court that there is a reasonable possibility that the accused will not get a fair and impartial trial: Webb and Hay v The Queen (1992) 181 CLR 41, 64 A Crim R 38. The power to change venue is given by s. 30 Criminal Procedure Act.
In a joint trial the judge should present the case against each accused separately: Masters (1992) 59 A Crim R 445 at 448.
Where Does the Accused Sit?
The judge can require the accused to enter the dock or can allow him to remain in the well of the court: s. 34 Criminal Procedure Act.
Absence of the accused
Generally the accused must be present at every stage of the trial: Jamal v Regina  NSWCCA 198 esp at para . However, if the accused absconds during the course of the trial, the judge has a discretion about whether the trial should continue or not: Williams v Regina  NSWCCA 286. It is not clear what the responsibilities of counsel are in this situation, that is whether to withdraw or to proceed to appear, but probably the better view is that counsel should assume his or her instructions have been withdrawn.
The accused has 3 peremptory challenges to jurors (s. 42 Jury Act). The Crown has the same number of challenges as all the accused put together: s. 42 Jury Act, Dickens  1 NSWLR 403. The old rule that there were more challenges in a murder trial has been abolished.
The DPP Guidelines state that the right to challenge 'should never be exercised so as to attempt to select a jury that is not representative of the community, including as to age, sex, ethnic origin, religious belief, marital status, or economic, cultural or social background' (DPP Guideline 25).
Discharge of Individual Jurors
An individual juror can be discharged through death, illness or any other reason. A criminal trial can proceed with as few as 10 jurors, and with as few as 8 if the prosecution and the accused both consent or if the trial has been going for at least 2 months: s. 22 Jury Act. Where a juror is discharged through illness, it is not necessary for the judge to be satisfied that the juror will not recover quickly: Wu v The Queen (1999) 199 CLR 99. The judge must make 2 separate steps: first, to determine whether the individual juror should be discharged, and then to determine whether or not the trial can continue with the reduced jury. The jury can be reduced below 12 in Commonwealth cases despite the constitutional guarantee of 'trial by jury': Brownlee v The Queen (2001) 207 CLR 278.
A juror should not be discharged where there is evidence that that juror would, if not discharged, have voted for an acquittal: BG v Regina  NSWCCA 139 esp at para .
Plea After Empanelling.
If there is a plea of guilty during a trial, the jury can be discharged and the judge can find the accused guilty: s. 157 Criminal Procedure Act. At common law, once the jury is empanelled, only it can find the accused guilty, even if there is a plea: Ross (1994) PD . Once a judge has made a finding that the accused is guilty under s. 157, the judge has no discretion to allow the plea of guilty to be withdrawn: Regina v Hura (2001) 121 A Crim R 472 .
Plea by Co-Accused in Front of the Jury.
It is an error to have a co-accused plead in front of the jury: Velardi (NSW CCA 24/5/96). The plea of a co-accused is not evidence against the accused: Cowell (1985) 24 A Crim R 47 at 49. This also applies to an alleged co-offender who becomes a Crown witness: Nale  NSWCCA 31. However, although it is preferrable if the plea is entered in the absence of the jury, if the plea is enteredin front of the jury, and appropriate directions are given, no succesful ground of appeal may arise: Humphries v Regina  NSWCCA 319.
If the evidence falls short of the Crown opening there may be an entitlement to a discharge: Owen (1991) 56 A Crim R 279. The Crown is apparently entitled to refer to itself as bringing charges on behalf of the community: Skipworth  NSWCCA 37.
The defence is entitled to make an opening address immediately
after the Crown's address, whether or not the defence intends to call evidence, limited
to setting out the matters in dispute and the nature of the defence: s. 159 Criminal Procedure Act.
The limitations on this right to make an opening were stressed in Regina v MM (2004) 145 A Crim R 148.
Duties of Prosecutors.
The Bar Association Rules require that prosecutors:
It has been held that cross-examining a defence witness about an old prior criminal conviction, without informing the defence, or seeking a ruling from the trial judge, was a 'serious departure from the standards of conduct rquired by a Crown prosecutor': Montgomery v Regina  NSWCCA 73 esp at para .
A conviction was quashed in Khalifeh (1996) 85 A Crim R 68 where the appellant in a 32 day case had no transcript.
Pursuant to s. 55C of the Jury Act the jury
can be given access to a copy of the transcript if the jury requests, however this
power should be exercised with caution and it is usually preferable to refer to
the evidence in the summing up: Fowler  NSWCCA 142.
Choice of Witnesses.
The Crown alone has the responsibility of whether or not to call a particular witness: The Queen v Apostilides (1984) 154 CLR 563. The Crown should not refuse to call a witness simply because the witness' testimony does not support the Crown's theory of the case. The Crown must be satisfied, normally from a conference, that the witness cannot give relevant and truthful evidence: Kneebone (1999) 47 NSWLR 450,  NSWCCA 279, Geitonia and Gertos v Inner West Council  NSWCCA 186. The judge only has the power to call a witness in exceptional circumstances: Apostilides, Griffis (1996) 91 A Crim R 203.
The DPP Guidelines state that 'the Crown should generally call all apparently credible witnesses whose evidence is essential to the complete unfolding of the Crown case or is otherwise material to the proceedings' (DPP Guideline 26). 'Mere inconsistency of the testimony of the witness with the Crown case is not grounds for refusing to call the witness' (DPP Guideline 26).
Witness not Called at Committal.
If a witness not called at committal is called at trial, the trial judge may order a voir dire: Basha (1989) 39 A Crim R 337, Sandford (1993) 72 A Crim R 160.
The Voir Dire
Where evidence needs to be called to determine whether or
not evidence should be led before the jury, the evidence on the preliminary question
of admissibility is led in the absence of the jury in what is called a 'voir dire'.
The voir dire can be held before the jury is empanelled: Rule 53.11 District Court Rules.
Reading the Evidence of a Witness Unavailable at Trial
If a witness is dead or so ill as to not be able to travel or is absent from Australia, the depositions of the committal can be read: s. 285 Criminal Procedure Act, formerly s. 409 Crimes Act. This includes statements tendered at committal: s. 289 Criminal Procedure Act. It is not sufficient for s. 285 to apply if the witness cannot give credible evidence, or cannot give evidence without endangering the witness' health (Sinanovic (CCA 4/11/92), Brotherton (1993) 65 A Crim R 301). Section 285 only applies to admit evidence at the committal. It does not apply to a transcript of testimony at trial: Li  NSWCCA 386.
Where an accused is unrepresented at committal, a statement is inadmissible under s. 285 unless the accused is advised of his rights including the right to seek an adjournment: s. 89 Criminal Procedure Act, Adamiczka (1994) 71 A Crim R 291.
There is no discretion in NSW to exclude such evidence unless the prejudice outweighs the probative value: Lynch  2 NSWLR 775, Gorman v Fitzpatrick (1987) 32 A Crim R 330, Stackelroth (1996) 86 A Crim R 438 but see Scott and Barnes  2 WLR 924 , Radford (1993) 66 A Crim R 210, Mendham (1994) PD . The defence can require the deposition to be read with no discretion to reject such evidence: s. 286 Criminal Procedure Act, Stackelroth (1996) 86 A Crim R 438. The jury should be directed that it has not seen the witness to judge his credibility, or had the opportunity to cross-examine him, and the evidence should be scrutinized with great care: Horan  VLR 249, Nablerski (1989) 44 A Crim R 434, Scott and Barnes, Mendham.
The depositions are taken to be a true record unless the contrary is proved: s. 287 Evidence Act.
Objections By Judge.
A trial judge should not reject questions not objected to unless eg the question is unfair: Lars and Da Silva (1994) PD .
Asking questions of witnesses
The CCA has stressed that caution must be exercised by the judge in questioning witnesses: see FB v Regina  NSWCCA 217 esp at para .
Failure to give reasons
Failure of a judge to give reasons for a ruling is an error of law but it will not generally lead to a succesful appeal if the appeal court can independently come to the same conclusion: Madubuko v The Queen  NSWCCA 135 esp at para .
Trials: Open, Closed, and Non-Publication Orders
Generally, committal proceedings are to be in open court, that is open to the public and the media. This general rule is subject to some statutory and common law exceptions. The name of an accused can be suppressed if it is necessary to secure the proper administration of justice: C v R (1993) 67 A Crim R 562 at 565.
The publication of the name of a child who is a victim, defendant, or witness in criminal proceedings is generally prohibited, unless the child is over 16 and consents, or if the child is under 16 and the court consents. The court can also permit publication of the name of a child convicted of a serious indictable offence: (s. 15A Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act).
In sexual assault cases (in particular in this context indecent assault), the court can close the court (s. 291 Criminal Procedure Act) and can also forbid the publication of part or all of the evidence (s. 292 Criminal Procedure Act). Such an order can include suppression of the name of the accused: Crampton v DPP (NSW C of A, 7/7/1997). In a decision about the predecessor of this section, it was held that the interests of the accused were relevant in determining whether or not to make an order forbidding publication: Nationwide News v District Court of NSW (1996) 40 NSWLR 486. Where there are back to back trials of trials involving the same accused, the court may grant non-publication orders: Nationwide News v Qaumi  NSWCCA 97.
Power to Direct an Acquittal.
A trial judge has no power to direct an acquittal on the basis that the evidence that the evidence is unsafe and unsatisfactory. However if the identification evidence is unsatisfactory he may take that evidence away from the jury and then direct an acquittal: R (1989) 44 A Crim R 404. It is not enough that an innocent hypothesis can't be excluded: JMR (1991) 57 A Crim R 39. It is not sufficient to give a directed acquittal in a circumstantial case simply because there is a hypothesis consistent with innocence: JMR at 44. The judge should consider whether or not there is some evidence which, if accepted, could prove each element of the offence beyond reasonable doubt: Regina v Bilick and Starke (1984) 36 SASR 322 at 337, 11 A Crim R 452, and Regina v XHR  NSWCCA 247.
On a no case submission, the Crown case is taken at its highest, and evidence favouring the accused is disregarded: Doney v The Queen (1990) 50 A Crim R 157.
If the Crown does not raise an alternative count it should not be left to the jury: Pureau (1990) 47 A Crim R 230, Cameron  2 NSWLR 66, King (2004) 59 NSWLR 515 at para . The principles as to leaving alternative counts to a jury were helpfully summarised in King (2004) 59 NSWLR 515 at para . It is undesirbale for an alternative count to be raised by the trial judge for the first time in the summing up (that is, after addresses): Sheen v Regina  NSWCCA 259 esp at para .
If the jury is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of one of two alternative counts, it need only be satisfied on balance as to which of the two applies: Gilson (1991) 53 A Crim R 344.
In a case where an accused is indicted with an offence (such
as murder) and a less serious offence (such as manslaughter) is left as an alternative,
it appears that no verdict can be taken on the lesser count unless the jury returns
a unanimous verdict of not guilty on the more serious count: Stanton v The Queen  HCA 29, 198 ALR 41.
There are no dock statements for people charged after 10th June 1994: s. 31 Criminal Procedure Act. The accused can give a dock statement and sworn evidence: Lister (1981) 1 NSWLR 110. However the accused can't say in the witness box that everything he said in the dock was true: Tangmahsuk (1987) 7 NSWLR 551. The judge may permit notes to be referred to but not read: Schneidas (1981) 4 A Crim R 101. A corporation may be able to make a dock statement: Elite Wood Products (Kinchington J 28/8/91, u/r, doubted by the CCA, Bulletin 63).
It appears that a document can be tendered in or after the dock statement if the accused would have been able to tender it if giving sworn evidence: See Lun and Welsh (1932) 49 WN 116, Howard (1932) 49 WN 196.
The defence needs leave of the court to call evidence of alibi unless a Notice of Alibi in writing was served on the DPP at least 21 days before the trial is listed for hearing: s. 150 Criminal Procedure Act. The notice must contain names and addresses of witnesses to be called in support of the alibi.
The Crown can normally tender an alibi notice as part of
its case, though each case depends on its facts: Rossborough (1985) Cr App 139. For
this reason great care should be taken in drafting an alibi notice.
The jury should be directed that:
The jury should also be directed that alibi witnesses can be genuinely mistaken, that even false alibis can be put forward for many reasons, and that the fact of a false alibi can only be used if the sole reason for the fabrication was to deceive them: Visser (1994) PD .
In Skondin  NSWCCA 417 (esp at para ) it was held that a trial judge should be slow to refuse leave to call alibi evidence where no notice has been given unless the Crown has suffered significant prejudice which could not be addressed without significant disruption of the trial. See also Evans (2006) 164 A Crim R 489.
Direction to Convict.
The judge can direct the jury to convict if there is no dispute about any of the ingredients of the offence: Yager v The Queen (1976-7) 139 CLR 28. If manslaughter arises as an issue on the facts must be left to the jury but there is no obligation to put to the jury the option of a merciful verdict of manslaughter. However the jury strictly has the power to return such a verdict even if that option is not left to them: Gammage v The Queen (1969) 122 CLR 444 .
Counsel for the accused address after the Crown addresses: s. 160 Criminal Procedure Act. Counsel for the accused address in the reverse order of the indictment (and thus also in the reverse order of the order of cross-examining), but see Webb & Hay (1992) 64 A Crim R 38 at 66.
The Crown address should not suggest that because there was not greater cross-examination of a Crown witness, or that the witness's evidence was consistent with his prior statements to the police. The Crown should also not express a personal opinion (such as 'sounds like a girlfriend to me'): Rugari (2001) 122 A Crim R 1 , Liristis (2004) 146 A Crim R 547. The Crown should not put a submission to the jury that because of their gender the jury female jurors have experience about a particular matter: GDD and NJC v Regina  NSWCCA 62 (per Grove J at para ). The Crown should not address the jury to the effect that witnesses have lied if this has never been put to the witnesses: Teasdale (2004) 145 A Crim R 345.
In Regina v Sam and Sam  NSWSC 561 the trial judge permitted the Crown to provide the jury with a document containing references to questions and answers in the accused's record of interview relating to a particular topic.
The NSW CCA has said that these features either alone or in combination in a Crown address are worthy of censure in Regina v Livermore (2006) 67 NSWLR 659 at para :
(i) A submission to the jury based upon material which is not in evidence.
(ii) Intemperate or inflammatory comments, tending to arouse prejudice or emotion in the jury.
(iii) Comments which belittle or ridicule any part of an accused’s case.
(iv) Impugning the credit of a Crown witness, where the witness was not afforded the opportunity of responding to an attack upon credit.
(v) Conveying to the jury the Crown Prosecutor's personal opinions.
This case also contains a useful summary of cases where an address by a Crown prosecutor has been held to have breached these rules.
See also Regina v Causevic  NSWCCA 238 especially at para , GDD and NJC v Regina  NSWCCA 62, Geggo v Regina  NSWCCA 7 esp at para .
The summing up should include a concise summary of the evidence on each legal issue: Zorad (1990) 19 NSWLR 91. This is so despite the existence of s. 161 Criminal Procedure Act, which says that the trial judge need not summarise the evidence: Piazza (NSW CCA u/r 16/6/97).
Directions based on differences between the accused's evidence
and matters put to witnesses by counsel for the defence are 'fraught with peril and
should therefore only be used with much circumspection' : Manuta (1990) 54 SASR 17,
cited in Birks (1990) 19 NSWLR 677 at 691. If such directions are given, the jury
should be told that there may be many explanations for such differences, such as
counsel misunderstanding his /her instructions or simply overlooking the instructions.
See also Picker  NSWCCA 78.
The summing up should put the fairly put the defence case to the jury: Davis (1997) 4 Crim LN . It should contain a fair and balanced summary of the law, the issues, and the respective cases for the prosecution and the defence: Meher  NSWCCA 355 esp at para , Wong v Regina  NSWCCA 101, Maraache v Regina  NSWCCA 199. It should not normally include arguments not put by the Crown: Meher at para . It should not include a demolition of the defence case: Taleb  NSWCCA 119.
Sending the Jury Out.
The jury should be told that they should not commence considering their verdicts until applications have been made for redirections: Lean & Aland (CCA 22/2/93), McCormack (1996) 85 A Crim R 445.
In complex cases juries may be provided with a chronology not as evidence but as an aide memoire: Regina v Petroulias (No. 34)  NSWSC 1462.
Inadmissible Material to Jury Room.
A conviction was quashed where inadmissible material was sent to the jury room: Rinaldi (1993) 68 A Crim R 284, Rudkowsky (1993) PD , Vong  NSWCCA 20 but see Minarowska (1995) 83 A Crim R 78. The test is whether or not it could be said that the jury would have returned the same verdicts if the irregularity had not occurred: Regina v Marsland (NSW CCA 17/7/1991), referred to in Qing An v Regina  NSWCCA 53. Where a juror brought newspaper clippings of a trial into the jury room an appeal was not upheld: Carr v Regina  NSWCCA 186.
A conviction was quashed when the judge read inadmissible material to the jury: Phipps and Young (1995) PD .
Similarly an unauthorised visit by some jurors to a crime scene led to a conviction being quashed: Skaf (2004) 60 NSWLR 86.
In a case where a juror accessed the fact of a prior trial of the accused for another murder, the conviction of the accused for another murder was quashed: K (2003) 59 NSWLR 431, 144 A Crim R 468.
Sending the Jury Home
Normally juries are allowed to 'separate' or go home at the end of the day: s. 54 Jury Act. An argument that this did not apply to Commonwealth trials was rejected by the High Court: Brownlee v The Queen (2001) 207 CLR 278, 75 ALJR 1180. The Court of Criminal Appeal has said that the jury should be brought in and the jury told they can go home, with a warning not to discuss the matter outside the jury room: Radju (2000-2001) 53 NSWLR 471.
Communications Between Judge and Jury
Before a judge communicates with the jury, it is preferable that the judge communicates with counsel about what the judge is going to say, and then communicates with the jury in open court: Colville (2003) 137 A Crim R 543.
The judge should disclose the contents of notes from the jury to the parties, unless the note involves a personal matter unconnected with the trial, or includes references to voting numbers: Burrell v Regina  NSWCCA 65 esp at paras [261 to [ 265], Black  VSCA 61, Smith v The Queen  HCA 27 esp at para  to , and .
The test for bias is whether or not a fair minded member of the public would have a reasonable suspicion of bias of the judge or jury: Webb and Hay v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 41, 68 ALJR 582, (1994) 73 A Crim R 258. Even a juror being related to a witness may not suffice: Schumacher (1996) PD . A juror speaking to a Crown witness may not automatically suffice to lead to a conviction being quashed: Minarowska (1995) 83 A Crim R 78.
If the jury appears to be having trouble reaching a unanimous verdict, the judge may give the jury the 'exhortation'. The exhortation to a jury should not refer to public cost and inconvenience: Black v The Queen (1993) 179 CLR 44, 68 ALJR 91 at 95, (1993) 69 A Crim R 248, Yuill (1994) 7 A Crim R 314. Black contains a pro forma exhortation in the following terms:
"Members of the jury, I have been told that you have not been able to reach a verdict so far. I have the power to discharge you from giving a verdict but I should only do so if I am satisfied that there is no likelihood of genuine agreement being reached after further deliberation. Judges are usually reluctant to discharge a jury because experience has shown that juries can often agree if given more time to consider and discuss the issues. But if, after calmly considering the evidence and listening to the opinions of other jurors, you cannot honestly agree with the conclusions of other jurors, you must give effect to your own view of the evidence.
Each of you has sworn or affirmed that you will give a true verdict according to the evidence. That is an important responsibility. You must fulfil it to the best of your ability. Each of you takes into the jury room your individual experience and wisdom and you are expected to judge the evidence fairly and impartially in that light. You also have a duty to listen carefully and objectively to the views of every one of your fellow jurors. You should calmly weigh up one another's opinions about the evidence and test them by discussion. Calm and objective discussion of the evidence often leads to a better understanding of the differences of opinion which you may have and may convince you that your original opinion was wrong. That is not, of course, to suggest that you can, consistently with your oath or affirmation as a juror, join in a verdict if you do not honestly and genuinely think that it is the correct one.
Experience has shown that often juries are able to agree in the end, if they are given more time to consider and discuss the evidence. For that reason, judges usually request juries to re-examine the matters on which they are in disagreement and to make a further attempt to reach a verdict before they may be discharged. So, in the light of what I have already said, I ask you to retire again and see whether you can reach a verdict."
The judge must tell the jury that each juror has a duty to give a verdict according to the evidence, and that if the juror cannot honestly agree with the other jurors he should not. Failure to give this direction is appellable: Timbery v Regina  NSWCCA 355.
A conviction was quashed in a case where a judge gave a Black direction but then told the jury that at the end of 8 hours deliberation, the jury could give a majority verdict: RJS v Regina  NSWCCA 241. See also Hunt v Regina  NSWCCA 152. However, a direction to the jury that in certain circumstances a majority vedict can be returned (without reference to time limits) is acceptable: Ingham v Regina  NSWCCA 88 esp at para .
Until recently (26 May 2006) verdicts had to be unanimous in New South Wales. However, as from that date, in a state criminal trial, a majority verdict can be returned if
These preconditions are mandatory. In particular, it is not sufficient that the jury has deliberated for 8 hours, the trial judge must make a determination that the jury has deliberated for a reasonable time given the nature and complexity of the case: AGW v Regina  NSWCCA 81, Hanna v Regina (2008) 191 A Crim R 302. It also seems that lunch hours are not to be taken into account as deliberation time, although time getting redirections is taken as part of deliberation time: AG, BR v Regina  NSWCCA 46. A failure to examine one of the jurors on oath will also render the majority verdict liable to be quashed on appeal: RJS v Regina (2007) 173 A Crim R 100, T v Regina  NSWCCA 48 esp at para (currently not available on th Supreme Court website).
'Majority verdict' means a verdict of 11-1 in a case where there are 12 jurors, or a verdict of 10-1 in a case where there are 11 jurors.
There cannot be a majority verdict in a Commonwealth matter (s. 55F (4) Jury Act). That confirms the existing law. It was held that because of s. 80 of the Constitution for a person tried on indictment for a Commonweath matter the verdicts must be unanimous: Cheatle v The Queen (1993) 177 CLR 541, 67 ALJR 76. This does not mean that there must be 12 jurors: Brownlee v The Queen (2001) 207 CLR 278.
A jury may be discharged if there has been evidence on oath from one or more of the jurors that the jury us unlikely to reach a unanimous verdict: s. 56 Jury Act. It has been suggested that where a juror is examined for the purposes of s. 56, this should be done in front of the whole jury: Villis v Regina  NSWCCA 74 at para .
A verdict should not be taken before a jury question has been answered: Alameddine v Regina  NSWCCA 12 esp at para .
Once a verdict has been given and the jury have been charged the verdict cannot be set aside by the trial judge even if the jury reached the verdict under a misapprehension: Biggs (WA SC 10/9/97, (1997) 4 Crim LN ).
Chatting to the Press
The practice of Crown Prosecutors making statements to television and radio was specifically criticised in Sheikh (2004) 144 A Crim R 124 at paras  to .
Where an accused is acquitted or discharged either in a trial or an appeal, the accused can ask the judge for a certificate for costs (s. 2 Costs in Criminal Cases Act). The certificate must specify that if the prosecution had been in possession of all the relevant facts, it would not have been reasonable to commence the proceedings; and that any act of the defendant which contributed to the institution of the proceedings was reasonable in the circumstances (s. 3 Costs in Criminal Cases Act). A certificate can be granted where the the proceedings are no-billed between arraignment and the commencement of the trial proper: JC v DPP  NSWSC 228. The certificate should be forwarded to the Director General of the Attorney-General's Department who may determine the amount of costs to be paid (s. 4 Costs in Criminal Cases Act).
The relevant considerations are set out in Mordaunt v DPP (2007) 171 A Crim R 510 at para .
No certificate can be given under the Costs in Criminal Cases Act for Commonwealth offences: Solomons v District Court of NSW (2002) 76 ALJR 1601
If the jury is discharged (except in the case of a hung jury) the judge can be asked to provide a certificate under s. 6A of the Suitors Fund Act, certifying the reason for the discharge of the jury, and that such discharge was not attributable to the fault of the accused or his legal representatives. This site includes a Precedent for a Suitors Fund Certificate.
(c) Appeals from the Local Court
District Court Appeals.
Appeals from the Local Court to the District Court must be brought within 28 days of conviction order or sentence (s. 11 Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act) but leave may be granted to appeal within a period of 3 months: (s. 13 Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act). An appeal against conviction after the appellant has pleaded guilty or has not appeared can only be made with the leave of the court: (s. 12 Crimes ( Appeal and Review) Act).
The appeal is by way of rehearing on the transcript of evidence heard before the magistrate unless the court gives leave on the grounds that it is in the interests of justice for further evidence to be given: s. 17- 18 Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act. Victims of an offence involving violence can only be required to give evidence if it is established that there are special reasons why the witness should attend to give evidence. Other witnesses are only required to give evidence if there are substantial reasons why the witness should give evidence (s. 19). The judge should consider whether each individual witness should be called, and not make a ruling that all witnesses be called 'en bloc': Charara (2006) 164 A Crim R 39 at para .
The rehearing is not a rehearing 'de novo' because normally the evidence that can be called on appeal is limited to the evidence before the magistrate: Gianoutsos v Glykis (2006) 65 NSWLR 539 esp at paras  to . Although the reasons given by the magistrate are not part of the evidence it has been held (obiter dicta) that they can be taken into account particularly on the assessment of the credibility of witnesses: Charara v Regina (2006) 164 A Crim R 39 at paras  to . It is submitted that this part of the decision in Charara was wrongly decided. The judge should also recognise the advantage of the magistrate who had the advantage of seeing and hearing the witnesses give evidence: Charara v Regina (2006) 164 A Crim R 39 at paras  to .
The question for the District Court judge hearing a conviction appeal is not whether it has been demonstrated that the magistrate was in error, but whether the District Court judge has been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused: Wood v DPP  NSWCA 240 esp at para .
Where the judge intends to make a finding about the appellant's credit different to that of the magistrate based on the depositions at least the judge should warn the parties and give them a chance to call oral evidence: Barendse v Comptroller of Customs (1990) 93 A Crim R 210.
If an application is made to withdraw the appeal this must be done separately: Reischauer v Knoblanche (1987) 10 NSWLR 40. If the judge intends to increase the sentence he should give an indication that this is his/her intention to give the appellant an opportunity to withdraw the appeal: Parker (1993) 65 A Crim R 209.
An appeal from the decision of the District Court on an appeal can be made where the District Court Judge states a question of law to the CCA (s. 5B Criminal Appeal Act).
An appeal from the decision of the District Court on an appeal from the Local Court can be made to the Court of Appeal where the judgement amounts to a jurisdictional error, or the process represents a denial of procedural fairness: Ex parte Blackwell; Re Hateley  NSWR 1061, Toth v DPP  NSWCA 133. An appeal to the Court of Appeal is available under s. 69 Supreme Court Act. There is a privative clause preventing appeals from District Court appeals in cases other than jurisdictional error and denial of procedural fairness (s. 176 District Court Act; Blackwell, Toth v DPP  NSWCA 133 esp at para ).
Appeals from the Local Court to the Supreme Court.
Stated cases, statutory prohibition and mandamus have been abolished as means of appeal from the local court to the Supreme Court. There can now be an appeal by the the defendant as of right against a conviction order or sentence from the Local to the Supreme Court but only on a question of law alone: s. 52 Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act. If there is a question of fact or of mixed law and fact there can only be an appeal with leave of the court: s. 53 Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act
Appeals against orders made in committals, or interlocutory orders in summary proceedings, can only be about questions of law alone, and only with leave of the court: s. 53(3) Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act. Appeals against rulings on evidence will not normally be entertained because they are not appeals against an 'order' of the court. However the appeal will be entertained if the effect of the ruling was to prevent the Crown from making its case: Lisoff  NSWCCA 364, Cheng (1999) 48 NSWLR 616, Haddad & Treglia (2000) 116 A Crim R 312.
It appears that there is no right of appeal against the decision of a magistrate not to require a prosecution witness to attend a committal and give evidence: Thompson v DPP  NSWSC 522.
The prosecution alone may appeal direct to the Supreme Court in relation to sentences, stays of proceedings, and costs order, but only in relation to matters of law alone: s. 56 Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act. A complaint that a sentence was manifestly inadequate has been held not to be aground that involves a matter of law alone: Morse (Office of State Revenue) v Chan  NSWSC 1290.
(d) Appeals to the Court of Criminal Appeal
Time to Lodge Notice of Intention to Appeal.
A Notice of Intention to Appeal or a Notice of Intention to Apply For Leave to Appeal must be lodged within 28 days of conviction or sentence (s. 10 Criminal Appeal Act (1912)). The Court has the power to extend the time to appeal: s. 10(1)(b) Criminal Appeal Act. Under Rule 3, the Notice of Appeal can be signed by the appellant, his solicitor, or counsel.
Where there has been a delay before a notice of intention to appeal is filed, the Court should extend the time to appeal if it would be in the interests of justice: Kentwell v The Queen  HCA 37 esp at para , overruling the decision of Abdul v Regina  NSWCCA 247 which held that in a case of long delay the applicant had to establish that unless leave to appeal was granted if otherwise a 'substantial injustice' would result.
It appears that there is no time limit on the filing of a Crown appeal, but late filing of a Crown appeal may lead to the Crown appeal being dismissed: O'Har (2004) 59 NSWLR 596.
The Notice of Intention to Appeal has effect for 6 months after the date it is filed, but this can be extended by the Court at any time before or after the expiry of that period: rule 3A. In other words, the filing of the Notice of Intention to Appeal gives practitioners 6 months to file the formal Notice of Appeal with grounds and the other documents referred to immediately below. Currently the Court of Criminal Appeal is being fairly ruthless about enforcing the 6 month time limit, and it is strongly recommended that practitioners enter the expiry date of the Notice of Intention to Appeal in their diaries.
Notice of Appeal
A Notice of Appeal or Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal must be filed during the period in which the Notice of Intention to Appeal has effect (see the preceding paragraph), or, if no such Notice has been filed, within 3 months of the date of conviction or sentence. This 3 month period can be extended by the Court before or after the expiration of the period: rule 3B.
At the same time as the Notice of Appeal is filed, the following documents must also be filed:
Bail will only be granted on appeal to the CCA or High Court only in 'special or exceptional circumstances': s.30AA Bail Act. 'Special circumstances' may not be constituted by the fact that the gaol term will expire before the appeal is heard: Chew (1992) 66 ALJR 209 but see Chew (No. 2) 66 ALJR 221.
A transcript of the trial is furnished by the CCA registry
of the trial: s. 21 Criminal Appeal Act. The
transcript should include a transcript of the evidence, legal argument, judgments
during the trial, counsel's addresses, the summing up, proceedings after conviction,
and the remarks on sentence: rule 6 Criminal Appeal Rules.
Appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal.
There is a right of appeal to the CCA on questions of law alone. Appeals on questions of fact or sentence will only be heard with leave of the court (s. 5 Criminal Appeal Act). The trial judge can also submit a question of law to the CCA: s. 5A.
Appeals against interlocutory judgments and rulings
The Crown can appeal against any interlocutory judgment or order to the Court of Criminal Appeal (s. 5F (2) Criminal Appeal Act). The Crown can appeal against a decision or ruling on evidence, if it eliminates or substantially weakens the Crown case: s. 5F(3A) Criminal Appeal Act. This includes evidence which the defence is seeking to tender which the Crown says was wrongly admitted: Regina v Burton  NSWCCA 335. The Crown has the onus of establishing that the ruling has substantially weakened the Crown case: Regina v Shamouil (2006) 66 NSWLR 228 at para . However, it has been held that if evidence of 'cogency or force' has been withheld in a case, even if that case is otherwise likely or even very likely to succeed, the Crown case has been substantially weakened: Regina v Shamouil (2006) 66 NSWLR 228 at para . An appeal under s. 5F (3A) can be brought even if no jury has been empanelled: Regina v Ngatikaura (2006) 161 A Crim R 329 at para .
It has been held that a refusal to declare a witness unfavourable pursuant to s. 38 Evidence Act is not a ruling on the admissibility of evidence, and so cannot be the subject of a Crown appeal: Milakovic  NSWCCA 199. The Crown cannot appeal against a judge's ruling in favour of the accused that he had succeeded in his plea of autrefois acquit: Stone (2005) 64 NSWLR 413 at para . The Crown cannot appeal against a judge's direction to a jury that there is no case to answer: (Cheng (1999) 48 NSWLR 616 at 621-2).
The accused can appeal against any interlocutory ruling or order only if the trial judge certifies that the judgment or ruling an interlocutory judgment or order is fit for determination on appeal, or if the Court of Criminal Appeal gives leave: s. 5F (3) Criminal Appeal Act. For example, a refusal to grant a separate trial is an interlocutory order and can be the subject of a s. 5F appeal: DAO v Regina  NSWCCA 63.
A 'judgment' is a decision of a court which determines the proceedings or an identifiable part of them and which is entered in the records of the court. An 'order' is a command of the court that something be done or not done: Steffan (1993) 67 A Crim R 506, KN v Regina  NSWCCA 249 esp at para .
Very importantly, a ruling on evidence has been held not to be an interlocutory ruling or judgment: see Steffan (1993) 67 A Crim R 506, Bozatsis and Spanakis (1997) 97 A Crim R 296, Lisoff  NSWCCA 364, Cheng (1999) 48 NSWLR 616, Haddad & Treglia (2000) 116 A Crim R 312, Kocer v Regina  NSWCCA 328, EK v Regina  NSWCCA 4, and DAO v Regina  NSWCCA 63.
Similarly, a ruling that a particular defence is not available is not an interlocutory judgment: Adamson  NSWCCA 7, nor can accused appeal against a failure to find that there is no case to answer: Lethlean (1995) 83 A Crim R 197. A refusal to allow a Basha inquiry (Regina v Basha (1989) 39 A Crim R 337) is not an interlocutory judgment or ruling which would give rise to a right of appeal: Nicholson v Regina  NSWCCA 38 esp at para . A decision to permit a witness to give evidence by AVL is not 'an interlocutory judgment or order': KN v Regina  NSWCCA 249 esp at para .
The Court of Criminal Appeal has said that it will only interfere with a ruling made in the course of a trial in 'wholly exceptional circumstances': Natoli  NSWCCA 292 at para .
An appeal against conviction after a plea of guilty will only be permitted in extreme circumstances, when there is a real doubt about the guilt of the accused. This will be so even if evidence has been wrongly admitted: Toro-Martinez (2000) 114 A Crim R 533.
Appeals after an unsuccesful appeal
If an appeal has been heard on the merits and dismissed, there is no right for a subsequent appeal under the Criminal Appeal Act: see Grierson v The King (1938) 60 CLR 431. However, if the appeal is not heard on its merits, and leave to appeal is refused, there is still a right to to make a further application for leave to appeal: Postiglione v The Queen (1997) 189 CLR 295 esp at 305, Lowe v Regina  NSWCCA 46.
If an appeal has been refused on its merits, there may still be available an application for a review under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act.
Appeals where there has been no objection and Rule 4
The rules of evidence in the Evidence Act stating that certain types of evidence are not admissible mean 'not admissible over objection': Perish v Regina  NSWCCA 89 esp at para .
Where no objection was made at trial, leave is required to argue the matter: Rule 4 Criminal Appeal Rules. It was suggested that it may be necessary to file an affidavit of counsel explaining why: Hines (1992) 24 NSWLR 737. However the CCA has said of this practice: 'But generally speaking it seems to me to amount to no more than an imposition on trial counsel for little, or no, good purpose' (Moussa (2001) 125 A Crim R 505). Rule 4 applies even if it is argued that the material is inadmissible on different grounds to those advanced at trial: Poniris v Regina  NSWCCA 100 esp at para .
In order to obtain leave under rule 4, an appellant must first establish that there is an arguable case of error. Next, the appellant must establish that the error has led to a miscarriage of justice; that is, that the appellant may have lost a chance of acquittal which was fairly open to him: South v Regina  NSWCCA 117 at para , Regina v Wilson (2005) 62 NSWLR 346 at paras  to .
Report by the Trial Judge
A trial judge can make a report about a trial the subject of an appeal: s. 11 Criminal Appeal Act. However this should generally be done if there are problems with the trial which do not appear on the face of the record: Sloane  NSWCCA 421. The CCA is not obliged to have regard to a judge's report: SKA v The Queen (2011) 243 CLR 400, 85 ALJR 271. A report should not be supplied in a sentence appeal: Vos  NSWCCA 234.
Errors of Fact
An error of fact in a sentence appeal can only be established if there was no evidence to support the finding, or the evidence was all the one way, or if the judge misdirected himself: O'Donoghue (1988) 34 A Crim R 397, Khouzame  NSWCCA 505.
However in Clarke v Regina  NSWCCA 232 it was held that it was sufficient for a court of appeal to find that a ground of appeal had been made good if there was simply a finding that there was an error of fact that may have affected the sentence imposed (per Basten JA esp at para  and Hamill J, Garling J contra). This approach was rejected in Turnbull v Chief Executive of the Office of Environment and Heritage  NSWCCA 278.
Asserted errors in discretionary judgments
Where the decision appealed against is a decision or ruling of a discretionary nature (for example, a decision not to exclude evidence on a discretionary basis, or a decision not to exclude propensity evidence), it is not sufficient if the appeal court would have reached a different decision, the appellant must demonstrate that there has been an error in exercising the discretion, such as acting on wrong principle, taking into account irrelevant considerations, failing to take into account relevant considerations, or mistaking the facts: House v The King (1936) 55 CLR 499.
Section 6 of the Criminal Appeal Act says that an otherwise successful appeal can be dismissed if the Court considers that there has been 'no substantial miscarriage of justice'. For the proviso to operate the Crown must show that the applicant has not lost 'a chance which was fairly open to him of being acquitted' (Mraz v The Queen (1955) 93 CLR 493 at 514) or 'a real chance of acquittal' (The Queen v Storey (1978) 140 CLR 364 at 376) or but for the admission of the evidence, a conviction was not inevitable (Crofts v The Queen (1996) 186 CLR 427). It cannot be said that there is no substantial miscarriage of justice unless the appellate court is persuaded that the evidence properly admitted at the trial proved beyond reasonable doubt the accused's guilt: Weiss v The Queen (2005) 224 CLR 300 at para . See also Cooper v The Queen  HCA 50 esp at para .
Recently there has been a disinclination to make use of the proviso even in otherwise strong Crown cases: Whittaker (1993) 68 A Crim R 476 at 484, Gilbert v The Queen (2000) 201 CLR 414 at . The Court of Criminal Appeal said in Rees v Regina  NSWCCA 66 at paras  to  that it was not aware of a case where the proviso had been applied where the case was one of oath against oath.
It is doubtful whether post-conviction admissions are relevant to the application of the proviso: TDP v Regina  NSWCCA 303 esp at para .
Errors can be so fundamental that they exclude the operation of the proviso: Wilde v The Queen (1988) 164 CLR 365, 76 ALR 570. An example of such a case is a case where there has been a significant denial of procedural fairness: Weiss v The Queen (2005) 224 CLR 300 at para .
In order to quash a conviction, fresh evidence on appeal must be
(b) such that it was not available with reasonable diligence at trial (Ratten v The Queen (1974) 131 CLR 510) and
(c) must be such that viewed with the evidence at trial a jury would be likely to entertain a reasonable doubt or a significant possibility that the jury acting reasonably would have acquitted (Gallagher v The Queen (1986) 160 CLR 392, Burton (1986) 24 A Crim R 169, Mickelberg v The Queen (1989) 167 CLR 259, 43 A Crim R 182, and Chidiac v The Queen (1991) 171 CLR 432, 52 A Crim R 119).
The principles are summarised by Kirby J in Abou-Chabake (2004) 149 A Crim R 417 at
para . In a conviction appeal, a ground of appeal relying on fresh evidence will
usually be framed this way: 'A miscarriage of justice resulted from the absence at
the trial of fresh evidence'. Fresh evidence entitling a retrial may be evidence from
the Royal Commission that the police committed perjury in other matters: McClaren
(NSW CCA 22/10/96), Vastag (NSW CCA u/r 20/6/97), Baartman (NSW CCA u/r 30/6/97)
As to fresh evidence on sentence appeals, the evidence must:
(see Sims (1995) 83 A Crim R 1, Goodwin (1990) 50 A Crim
R 328 at 330, De Marco (1996) PD ).
Normally events that take place after sentencing are regarded as a matter for the executive, not the courts: Many (1990) 51 A Crim R 54 at 62, Moreno (1994) PD .
Convictions Unreasonable or Cannot Be Supported By the Evidence
This ground was previously referred to as the 'unsafe and unsatisfactory' ground, but should now be referred to (in particular in Grounds of Appeal) as 'The convictions are unreasonable and/or cannot be supported having regard to the evidence': Fleming v The Queen (1998) 197 CLR 250, 73 ALJR 1, 103 A Crim R 12, Maxwell (NSW CCA 23/12/98), Dwyer  NSWCCA 47 esp at para .
This ground will be made out when the court on its own assessment of the evidence concludes that it was not open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt: Morris v The Queen (1987) 163 CLR 454, M v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 487, 69 ALJR 83, (1994) 76 A Crim R 213, SKA v The Queen (2011) 243 CLR 400. In most cases a doubt experienced by an appellant court will be a doubt that the jury ought to have experienced, unless it is a case where the jury's observing the demeanour of a witness was capable of resolving the doubt: M at 493, Jones v The Queen (1997) 191 CLR 439, 72 ALJR 78 at 85. This is also the case where there is a judge alone trial: Filippou v The Queen  HCA 29 esp at para . The suggestion that a jury had an advantage over the CCA in assessing a circumstantial case appears to have been rejected by a majority of the CCA in Kaldor (2004) 150 A Crim R 271.
Where there is an appeal against a conviction appeal in a judge alone trial, the test for whether or not the unsafe and unsatisfactory ground is made out basically the same as for a jury trial, but the CCA can take into account findings of the trial judge as to credibility: Arun v Regina  NSWCCA 214.
The unreasonable conviction ground appears to include a defect in the summing up which which might lead the jury to be mistaken or misled: Gipp v The Queen (1998) 194 CLR 106.
It has been said in the NSW CCA that the fact that the appellant did not give sworn evidence makes it more difficult to succeed on this ground: see Gordon (1991) 57 A Crim R 413, Zammit (1999) 107 A Crim R 489, Suckling  NSWCCA 36. The same principles were said to apply in a judge alone trial: Kurtic (1996) 85 A Crim R 57, Moody (NSW CCA 24/2/97). However this line of authority appears to have been overturned by the High Court in Dyers v The Queen (2002) 210 CLR 285 (see paras  (Gaudron and Hayne JJ agreeing generally with Callinan J),  (Kirby J) and  - (Callinan J)).
A conviction may be quashed on the basis that it is inconsistent with a verdict of acquittal against the same accused but only if the appellant has established that the verdicts are an affront to logic and commonsense: MacKenzie v The Queen (1996) 190 CLR 348, 90 A Crim R 468. The verdict will not be set aside unless there is no rational way of reconciling the verdicts: Jones v The Queen (1997) 191 CLR 439.
In RAT (2000) 111 A Crim R 361 it was held that where the only direct evidence of the offences is the evidence of the complainant, if the jury finds the accused not guilty of one count the jury must find him not guilty of all counts. However in Markuleski (2001) 52 NSWLR 82 a 5 judge bench of the CCA said that this was true only if there was nothing at all which differentiated the counts which the jury accepted beyond reasonable doubt from those where the jury was not so satisfied. This approach was adopted by the High Court in MFA v The Queen (2002) 213 CLR 606. It has been said that the test is now 'whether as a matter of logic and reasonableness the court is satisfied, after considering all the relevant circumstances of the case, that there is an acceptable explanation for the differentiation between the divergent verdicts': NEK  NSWCCA 392. If there is no such explanation, the verdicts are inconsistent.
The failure of a jury to agree on a verdict cannot amount to an inconsistent verdict argument ground: PA v Regina  NSWCCA 18.
As to whether, having found there are inconsistent verdicts, there should be an acquittal or a new trial, see Bonat  NSWCCA 240 at para .
The order of the Court after a succesful conviction appeal
In general, where an appeal ground which succeeds is that the verdict(s) were unreasonable or cannot be supported by the evidence, or that the verdicts of the jury are inconsistent, the resulting order will generally be that the conviction be set aside and that a verdict of not guilty be substituted.
Where the appeal ground which is successful is that there has been an incorrect ruling on evidence, or procedural unfairness, or a misdirection in the summing up, the resulting order will generally be that there be a retrial. There may be cases where the CCA will enter a verdict of not guilty where the sentence imposed has been substantially served.
Post conviction admissions may be relevant to the question of whether or not a retrial should be ordered: TDP v Regina  NSWCCA 303 esp at para .
Time to Count.
The court has a discretion whether or not to allow time to count after an appeal: s. 18(3) Criminal Appeal Act. In practice time to count has always been granted, but in theory time should ordinarily count only in arguable cases (Brennan  1 NSWLR 618) but not otherwise (Cutherberson  1 NSWLR 672, and Shutt (1987) 5 NSWLR 232).The Court has warned that in unarguable cases that time to count should not be allowed : Vai v Regina  NSWCCA 303.
Appeals Against Sentence
Section 6(3) of the Criminal Appeal Act permits the Court of Criminal Appeal to impose a lesser sentence if 'some other sentence in law was warranted in law and should have been imposed'. It has been held that as a result it is not sufficient in a sentence appeal to establish that there has been an error of law in the sentence proceedings. It is also necessary to satisfy the court that some other sentence was warranted in law and should have been imposed: Simpson (2001) 53 NSWLR 704 at para . In practice this means that in a sentence appeal by an offender, it is usually necessary to establish that the sentence is excessive and that there is an error of law.
Where an error of law is establshed, an appeal court should not then move to consider whether or not the error of law affected the sentence imposed. The appeal court should move to exercise the sentencing discretion afresh: Kentwell v The Queen (2014) 252 CLR 601 esp at para .
The fact that a judge makes an error about the maximum penalty for an offence will justify leave to appeal, but it will only be a material error if the error effects the sentence imposed, and the appeal will only be allowed if there the Court is of the opinion that a lesser sentence should have been imposed. It is not necessary to establish that the the sentence was manifestly excessive: RLS v Regina  NSWCCA 236 esp at paras  to .
The Court of Criminal Appeal has made it clear that it will be slow to conclude that the assessment of objective gravity of an offence by the sentencing judge was incorrect: Regina v Mulato  NSWCCA 282 esp at paras  and  to . Where it is argued that the judge has made an error in the assessment of objective gravity, this should be a separate ground of appeal: Hurmz v Regina  NSWCCA 235 esp at para .
Where the ground of appeal relied upon is that the sentence is manifestly excessive (or manifestly inadequate), it is necessary to demonstrate that the sentence was unreasonable or plainly unjust: Makarian v The Queen (2006) 228 CLR 357 at . It is not an arguable ground of appeal to argue that a sentence was too severe: Mammone v Regina  NSWCCA 95 at paras  to .
The Court of Criminal Appeal recently summarised the relevant principles this way in Thomson-Davis v Regina  NSWCCA 75 at para :
(a)A finding by an appellate court of manifest excess means that "the result embodied in the sentencing judge's orders was 'unreasonable or plainly unjust'": Hili at 538 ; House v. the King  HCA 40; 55 CLR 499 at 505;
(b)That finding is a conclusion that "there must have been some misapplication of principle, even though where and how is not apparent from the statement of reasons": Wong at 605 ;
(c)By its nature, the conclusion that a sentence is vitiated by manifest excess "does not admit of lengthy exposition": Hili at 539 . However, it does not follow from this that "manifest error is fundamentally intuitive", it is not: Hili at 539 . "[W]hat reveals manifest excess ... is consideration of all of the matters that are relevant to fixing the sentence": Hili at 539 ;
(d)Where an offender alleges manifest excess, the Court of Criminal Appeal assumes that no specific error is alleged: Hili at 539 . Accordingly, it is futile, indeed erroneous, to search for one.
(e)Subject to the adoption of the correct, cautious approach, a consideration of past sentences in closely comparable cases may highlight excess: a consideration of sentences which have in fact been imposed in similar cases does not establish a correct range, but may provide "a yardstick against which to examine a proposed sentence": Hili at 537 ; Director of Public Prosecutions (Commonwealth) v. De La Rosa  NSWCCA 194; 243 FLR 28 at 98  -  per Simpson J;
(f)"The production of bare statistics about sentences that have been passed tells the judge who is about to pass sentence on an offender very little that is useful if a sentencing judge is not also told why those sentences were fixed as they were": Wong at 606  (emphasis in the original). For this reason marked difference from sentences imposed in other cases does not of itself justify appellate intervention: Wong at 604 .
Appeal grounds which assert that the sentencing judge gave too much or insufficient weight to a particular factor have inherent problems because they involve a tacit concession that some weight was given to the factor; it then becomes a question of whether the weight given to the factor was outside the discretionary range: Stephens v Regina  NSWCCA 240 esp at paras  to , Regina v Baker  NSWCCA 85 esp at para , Regina v Majid  NSWCCA 121 esp at para , King v Regina  NSWCCA 99 esp at para , Williams v Regina  NSWCCA 68 esp at para . A ground that a particular feature was given too much or insufficient weight is in truth a particular of a ground asserting that a sentence is manifestly excessive or manifestly inadequate: Hanania v Regina  NSWCCA 220 esp at para .
The principle that appellate courts should resist the urge to 'tinker' with first instance sentences (Dinsdale v The Queen (2000) 202 CLR 321, 115 A Crim R 558 (esp at para 62)) appears to apply only to Crown appeals, not to appeals by an offender: Hillier v DPP  NSWCCA 312 esp at para .
Where a judge apparently has a notional starting point before applying discounts, an appeal based on the starting point being too high will not necessarily succeed unless the final sentence is manifestly excessive: Graham  NSWCCA 212. However, where it is not contended that the discount was excessive, the focus should be on the starting point: Xue v Regina  NSWCCA 137 esp at para .
Normally events which happened after sentencing are irrelevant to a sentence appeal: Goss v Regina  NSWCCA 190. However if fresh evidence is admitted it may be be taken into account in determining whether or not a sentence is manifestly excessive: Burke  NSWCCA 353 at .
It well established that once error has been established, in determining whether some other sentence was warranted and should have been imposed, the court can take into account material which relates to the applicant at the time of the appeal, rather than being restricted to material available to the sentencing judge: Douar  NSWCCA 455.
It is a good practice in nearly all cases to put on an affidavit by the applicant or his instructing solicitor about the current circumstances of the applicant. However the practice of routinely putting this material before the courts was criticised by Howie J in Bushara  NSWCCA 8.
Appeals based on apparent errors in the transcript of proceedings
Exchanges between counsel and the sentencing judge do not form part of the reasons and it is not safe to assume that an observation passed by a judge in the course of the submissions represents a considered final view of the judge on a matter: Regina v A  NSWCCA 292 at para , Regina v Pham  NSWCCA 94 at para . However there are occasions when exchanges between counsel and the bench may elucidate abbreviated statements in the remarks on sentence: Regina v Hughes (2008) 185 A Crim R 155 at para .
Crown Appeals against failure to assist the authorities
The Crown can appeal against the failure of an offender to fulfill an undertaking to assist law enforcement authorities: s. 5DA Criminal Appeal Act, However, such an appeal is limited to a consideration of the extent of the discount: Chaaban (2006) 166 A Crim R 406 esp at para . The Crown must establish beyond reasonable doubt that an undertaking was given and that there was a failure to comply with it: Regina v James  NSWCCA 311.
Crown Appeals Against Sentence
Crown appeals against sentence should be exceptional and
a rarity: Griffiths v The Queen (1977) 137 CLR 293 at 310, Everett v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 295 at 299, Allpass (1993) 72 A Crim R 561 at 562, Baker  NSWCCA 85, Dinsdale v The Queen (2000) 115 A Crim R 558 (esp at para
62), Wall  NSWCCA 42 at para .
This is especially so if no objection was made by the Crown at sentencing: Everett v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 295. In truth, presently they are anything but rare. The CCA has recently said that the principle that Crown appeals should be rare is not a factor to be taken into account in exercising whether or not to exercise the discretion to intervene in a Crown appeal: Regina v JW  NSWCCA 49 esp. at para .
It is insufficient for a Crown appeal to succeed simply by showing that the Court of Criminal Appeal would have imposed a more severe sentence: Griffiths v The Queen (1977) 137 CLR 293 at 310. The Crown must establish that the sentence was outside the discretionary range available to the sentencing judge. The inadequacy must be such that it is indicative of error or departure from principle:Griffiths v The Queen (1977) 137 CLR 293 at 310. The crucial question is whether the total sentence, not the non-parole period, is within the range: Burnett (1996) 85 A Crim R 76.
As in sentence appeals by an individual, appeal grounds which assert that the sentencing judge gave too much or insufficient weight to a particular factor have inherent problems because they involve a tacit concession that some weight was given to the factor; it then becomes a question of whether the weight given to the factor was outside the discretionary range: Stephens v Regina  NSWCCA 240 esp at paras  to , Regina v Baker  NSWCCA 85 esp at para , Regina v Majid  NSWCCA 121 esp at para .
The error must be clearly established; there should be a strong resistance to 'tinkering' with sentences: Dinsdale v The Queen (2000) 202 CLR 321, 115 A Crim R 558 (esp at para 62).
Generally speaking, if in the original sentence proceedings the Crown does not submit that a suspended sentence is inappropriate, the Crown will not be able to so argue successfully on appeal: R v Wilson (1981) 28 SASR 362 at 367-8, approved by the High Court in Everett v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 295 at 302.
If the Crown puts on a Notice of Appeal simply asserting that the sentence was manifestly inadequate, and then in submissions argues that there were particular errors, that matter will ordinarily be relevant in the question of whether or not the CCA should intervene: DPP v Lombard (2008) 185 A Crim R 565 esp at para . See also Regina v Dixon, Pearce and Pearce  NSWCCA 179 esp at para  and Carroll v The Queen  HCA 13 at para . The requirement that the Notice of Appeal disclose the grounds of appeal was described by the CCA as a 'rule of practice', but failure to do so will not invalidate the appeal: Regina v JW  NSWCCA 49 esp. at para .
Even if the Court considers that the sentence is manifestly inadequate, the Court has a discretion as to whether or not to intervene to correct the sentence. The Court retains this discretion even after the introduction of s. 68A of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act: see Regina v JW  NSWCCA 49 esp. at para . Formerly that discretion took into account the fact that the offender faces double jeopardy: Wall  NSWCCA 42 at para . However now s. 68A of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act states that double jeopardy is not to be taken into account in determining whether or not a Crown appeal will be upheld: Regina v JW  NSWCCA 49 esp. at para , Regina v Mulligan  NSWCCA 47 esp at para . Section 68A applies to Commonwealth Crown appeals: DPP (Cth) v De La Rosa  NSWCCA 194. Anxiety that a particular offender feels because of the threat of resentencing can be taken into account: DPP (Cth) v De La Rosa  NSWCCA 194 esp at .
Where the Crown appeals against not the sentence imposed on an offender, but not a co-offender, the court should not allow the Crown appeal if it would create a disparity between the sentences even if the sentence imposed on the co-offender was manifestly inadequate, unless the sentence imposed on the co-offender was so inadequate that it could be described as an affront to the administration of justice: Green and Quinn v The Queen  HCA 49.
An important factor in determining whether or not to exercise the discretion is the
question of whether or not the Crown has allowed the sentencing judge to fall into
error: Everett v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 295 at 300.
At common law, when the court resentences after a successful Crown appeal, the Court should give recognition to the principle of double jeopardy by imposing a sentence somewhat less than the sentence which the Court believes should have been imposed at first instance: Allpass (1993) 72 A Crim R 561 at 562, Dinsdale v The Queen (2000) 202 CLR 321, 115 A Crim R 558 (esp at para 62), Wall  NSWCCA 42 at para . However, because of s. 68A of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act double jeopardy is no longer to be taken into account in resentencing a respondent to a Crown appeal. See also Regina v JW  NSWCCA 49 esp. at para  where the CCA confirmed this was the effect of s. 68A.
Wood CJ at CL summarised these principles in this passage from Wall  NSWCCA 42 at para :
(a) The normal restriction upon appellate review of the exercise of a discretion, as set out in House v The King (1936) 55 CLR 499, applies to Crown appeals against sentence: Dinsdale v The Queen (2000) 202 CLR 321; with the result that this Court cannot merely substitute its opinion, as to the appropriate sentence, for that of the sentencing judge: Lowndes v The Queen (1999) 195 CLR 665 at 671; rather, it may interfere only where error either latent or patent is shown; R v Tait (1979) 46 FLR 386 at 388; and Wong and Leung v The Queen (2001) 76 ALJR 79 at para 58 and 109.
(b) Appeals by the Crown should generally be rare; Malvaso v The Queen (1989) 168 CLR 227 at 234, and unless there is a clear error of principle identified, it would be exceptional for the Court to interfere: R v Baker  NSWCCA 85.
(c) A Crown appeal against sentence is concerned with establishing matters of principle 'for the governance and guidance of courts having the duty of sentencing convicted persons': per Barwick CJ in Griffiths v The Queen (1977) 137 CLR 293 but this power extends to doing what is necessary to avoid manifest inadequacy or inconsistency in sentencing, that is, where the sentence is definitely outside the appropriate range for the case in hand: Everett v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 295 at 299; Dinsdale v The Queen (2000) 202 CLR 32, at paras 61 and 62, and Wong & Leung v The Queen at para 109.
(d) The Court has a lively discretion to refuse to intervene even if error has been shown, and in deciding whether to exercise that discretion, it should have regard to the double jeopardy that a convicted person faces as a result of a Crown appeal: R v Allpass (1993) 72 A Crim R 561, R v Papazis (1991) 51 A Crim R 242 at 247, and Wong and Leung v The Queen at para 110.
(e) A sentence which is imposed as a consequence of a successful Crown appeal will generally be less than that which should have been imposed by the sentencing court: R v Holder and Johnston (1983) 3 NSWLR 245 at 256, and will generally be towards the lower end of the available range of sentence: Dinsdale v The Queen at para 62.
It should be noted that as a result of s. 68A of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act, as interpreted in Regina v JW  NSWCCA 49, it seems that paragraphs (b), the second clause of (d) and (e) no longer are good law.
When resentencing after the appeal the Court may take into account developments after sentence, such as attending courses, not having committed prison disclipinary offences, being in protection, and attending courses: Ali v Regina  NSWCCA 45. As a result for a sentence appeal it is normally a good idea to have affidavit material filed setting out the applicant/respondent's current situation.
3/. The Elements of Crime.
Burden of Proof.
The onus is on the Crown to prove each element of the offence beyond reasonable doubt: Woolmington v DPP  AC 462.
If all the physical elements of an offence have been committed somewhere (whether or not within New South Wales), and there is a 'geographical nexus' between NSW and the offence, the Crimes Act states that NSW courts have jurisdiction: s. 10C Crimes Act. That 'geographical nexus' exists if the offence was wholly or partially committed in NSW, or if the offence has an effect in NSW: s. 10C. If in dispute the trial proceeds in the usual way and the onus of proof is on the balance of probabilities: s. 10E.
Not surprisingly, the courts have jurisdiction over Aboriginals: Jacky (1993) PD .
Time and Place
The time when and the place where the offence took place are not normally elements of the offence, but are particulars. However on the facts of a particular case, time and place may become essential to the Crown case as in a situation where the accused can call evidence that he could not have committed the offence when it was alleged: Hughes  NSWCCA 3, Kennedy (2000) 118 A Crim R 34.
Where an indictment charges that an offence took place between dates which straddle a change in legislation which has the effect of changing the elements of the offence, it appears that the accused cannot be convicted of either offence: NW v Regina  NSWCCA 217.
Mens Rea and Actus Reus
Lawyers often talk about the need for the prosecution to establish both the 'mens rea' and the 'actus reus' of an offence. These terms come from the Latin maxim, 'actus reus non facit reum nisi mens rea', meaning (loosely) a person does not become guilty of a crime by an act unless he has a guilty mind.
The 'mens rea' is the state of mind required to commit the crime (usually some form
of intention or state of knowledge), and the 'actus reus' is everything else, that
is, the physical acts of the accused required to show that the crime has been committed.
Mens rea must exist at the same time as the actus reus. That is, there must be the intention to commit the crime at the time the crime is committed. However the actus reus is considered as a whole. Thus if the final act is committed at a time when the accused believes the victim is already dead, there should still be a conviction: Thabo Meli v The Queen  1 All ER 373.
Similarly where a man drives onto another's foot and leaves it there after realising what he has done he is guilty of an offence: Fagan  1 QB 439.
An unwilled reflex or spasm is not voluntary and will not constitute actus reus. If a person accidentally pulls the trigger or jabs a knife at a person that will not excuse the accused. The act of presenting the weapon is the actus reus: Ryan v The Queen (1967) 121 CLR 205, Butcher  VR 43. However the matter should still be left to the jury: Murray v The Queen (2002) 211 CLR 193. For Commonwealth matters see also the Commonwealth Criminal Code, section 4.2.
Intoxication is only a defence to offences of specific intent such as murder, and maliciously inflict gbh with intent: ss. 428A-I Crimes Act, overruling The Queen v O'Connor (1980) 146 CLR 64 and Martin (1984) 58 ALJR 217. Intoxication is relevant to establish lack of intent for these offences.
Normally omissions cannot constitute actus reus unless they relate to someone to whom you have a legal duty (e.g. your children): Russell  VLR 59, Stone and Dobinson  QB 354.
If an act is not done voluntarily there is no actus reus. Once raised as an issue with a proper foundation (normally medical evidence) the onus of proof is on the Crown to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the act was voluntary or the accused should be acquitted: Hill v Baxter  1 QB 277, Bratty  AC 486, Falconer v The Queen (1990) 171 CLR 90, 50 A Crim R 245, Youssef (1990) 50 A Crim R 1.
To constitute automatism, a condition must
If the automatism arises from a disease of the mind, the M'Naghten rules apply (Bratty, Cottle). If both issues are raised both should be left to the jury: Radford (1985) 20 A Crim R 425. The critical issue is not whether or not the automatism was the result of external stimuli, but whether or not the accused's mind was sound at the time of the offence: Radford v Regina (1985) 42 SASR 266 at 276, Woodbridge v Regina  NSWCCA 185.
What Can Constitute Automatism.
The following states may constitute automatism:
In Australia (Parker v The Queen (1963) 111 CLR 610) there is no presumption that a man intends the natural and probable consequences of his act as is the case in England (Smith  AC 290 ). The intention must go to every element of the offence such as knowledge that the victim does not consent in rape: Morgan  AC 182.
Mental Illness and Intent.
Evidence of mental illness falling short of legal insanity is admissible on the question of intent: Hawkins v The Queen (1994) 179 CLR 500, 68 ALJR 572, 72 A Crim R 288, Toki  NSWCCA 125.
Type of Intent.
In stealing or fraud cases the jury may be asked to find not only that the person intended to do the act but that the intention was fraudulent or dishonest: Feely  QB 530, Glenister  2 NSWLR 597, Macleod v The Queen (2003) 214 CLR 230.
Presumption of Mens Rea.
There is a strong presumption that in any statutory offence the Crown must prove intention or knowledge on the part of the accused. The matters to be considered are
(Sweet v Parsley  AC 132 , He Kaw Teh v The Queen (1984) 157 CLR 523, 15 A Crim R 203 ).
Honest and Reasonable Mistake.
Even in offences where the presumption of mens rea does not apply, there will be a presumption that the defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact applies. The accused has an evidentiary onus to raise the defence: CTM v The Queen (2008) 236 CLR 440 esp at para , Ibrahim v Regina  NSWCCA 160. Once raised it is necessary for the Crown to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not have an honest and reasonable but mistaken belief in facts which if true would have made him not guilty of the offence: Proudman v Dayman (1941) 67 CLR 536 per Dixon J, Sweet v Parsley, He Kaw Teh, Commonwealth Criminal Code section 9.
Ignorance of the law does not provide a defence: Ostrowski v Palmer (2004) 218 CLR 493. Thus a mistake about the applicable speed limit does not provide a defence to a speeding charge: Ostrowski v Palmer (2004) 218 CLR 493, RTA v O'Reilly  NSWSC 134.
Criminal Negligence and Recklessness.
To be guilty of a criminal offence where negligence suffices the accused must be guilty of a very high degree of negligence where the word 'recklessness' is the most appropriate: DPP v Andrews  AC 576.
In Commonwealth matters, a person is negligent if it is shown that his conduct involved such a great falling short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the circumstances that the conduct merits criminal punishment: Commonwealth Criminal Code, section 5.5.
In cases other than murder, advertence to the possibility of injury will suffice: Coleman (1990) 47 A Crim R 306, Stokes and Difford (1990) 51 A Crim R 25, but see Campbell (1995) 80 A Crim R 461 (Vic CCA). There must be advertence to damage to the type of thing or person actually damaged: B (1994) PD .
In Commonwealth matters it appears that to establish recklessness,
it must be shown that the defendant is aware of a substantial risk that the result
will occur, and that having regard to the circumstances known to the defendant, it
is unjustifiable to take the risk: Commonwealth Criminal Code, section
Some offences have as an element of the offence that the
act be done 'maliciously'. There is a rather circular definition of 'maliciously'
in s. 5 Crimes Act, but in effect the
expression means intentionally or recklessly: see Livingstone  NSWCCA 122 at
For a corporation to be guilty of a criminal offence there must be proof that the guilty knowledge was held by the brains of the company: the Board of Directors, the Managing Director, senior managers, possibly only people mentioned in the Memorandum and Articles of the Company: Tesco Supermarkets v Nattras  AC 153.
For Commonwealth offences, the physical element of the offence must be committed by the employee, agent or officer acting within the actual or apparent scope of his employment, or actual or apparent authority. The mental or fault element must be attributable to the corporation by express, tacit or implied authorisation or permission of the corporation. Approval by a 'high corporate officer', and the prevailing corporate culture, can be taken into account: Commonwealth Criminal Code sections 12.1 to 12.3.
Definition of Murder.
The elements of murder are as follows:
(s. 18 Crimes Act).
An act is treated as the cause of a death if it is a substantial or significant cause of the death even if some other cause is operating: Royall v The Queen (1991) 172 CLR 378, Reynolds v Regina  NSWCCA 29. Only if the original wound is merely a setting in which another cause operates, or if the second cause is so overwhelming as to make the original wound part of the setting, can it be said that the death does not flow from the wound. (Smith  2 QB 35 at 42-3 adopted in Hallet  SASR 141 and Evans and Gardiner  VR 523). It is sufficient if the acts of the accused accelerate the process of death: Moffatt (2000) 112 A Crim R 201.
The Crown does not have to exclude unreasonable possibilities to have a case fit to go to the jury: Puckeridge (1999) 168 ALR 4, 74 ALJR 373.
Examples of Causation.
The following situations have been held not to break the chain of causation:
In Dixon and Smith (1992) 62 A Crim R 465 a conviction was quashed because the Crown could not exclude a reasonable inference that the sole cause of death was an underlying disease.
It is not necessary for the Crown to establish the precise act of the deceased which caused death: Regina v PL  NSWCCA 256 esp at paras  to . Thus the Crown can prove death in a circumstantial even where no body is found: see the cases listed in Regina v PL at para .
Where a child is born alive, but subsequently dies from injuries in the womb, the perpetrator can be guilty of homicide: AGs Ref (No. 3 of 1996)  2 All ER 10.
A person is presumed to have died when there is irreversible cessation of all his brain functions or the circulation of blood in his body: s. 33 Human Tissue Act 1983. Thus the person who turns off the life support system has not committed murder: Malcherek and Steele  2 All ER 422.
The prosecution no longer has to prove that death occurred within a year and a day of the act relied upon to constitute murder: s. 17A Crimes Act.
Mens Rea in Murder.
In a charge of murder any of the following states of mind will suffice to establish that the mens rea:
(s. 18 Crimes Act).
Intent to Kill.
If a person commits an act which kills the victim, and when he commits the act he intends to either kill the victim or cause grievous bodily harm to the victim, he has the requisite intent for murder.
If there is a continuous stream of events leading to death it is enough if there is an intention to kill at any stage: Hallett  SASR 141.
The accused will have the requisite intent if he intends to kill another even though he believes that he probably will not be successful: Jacobs J in La Fontaine v The Queen (1976) 136 CLR 62.
If a person intends to kill A but instead accidentally kills bystander B, there is
an intent to kill: Standish (1991) 60 A Crim R 36.
Reckless Indifference to Human Life.
If a person does not intend to kill another but does an act or omission knowing that that the consequences of the act include the probability of death the mens rea has been established: The Queen v Crabbe (1985) 156 CLR 464. In NSW because of the definition of murder in s.18 of the Crimes Act only foresight of the probability of death is sufficient: Solomon  1 NSWLR 321.
It is not desirable that the court attempt to further define the terms 'probable' or 'likely', in particular in terms of more than 50% likely. It is not sufficient to say that death 'may well happen or could well happen': Annakin (1987) 37 A Crim R 131. More acceptable are descriptions of the relevant likelihood as a substantial or real chance, a good chance, something that may well or is likely to happen: Boughey v The Queen (1986) 161 CLR 10 esp at para , but see White Eaves and Parker (1989) 43 A Crim R 283.
In a caswhere recklessness is an issue, it is insufficient fo the triasl judge to read the jury the statutory definition of 'maliciously': Pengilley v Regina  NSWCCA 163 esp at para .
The jury should be not be directed in terms of reckless indifference unless it arises as a practical issue: Tumananko (1992) 64 A Crim R 149.
The jury should not be directed in terms of wilful blindness although deliberate abstention from inquiry may be regarded as evidence of actual knowledge: The Queen v Crabbe.
Finally, the requisite mens rea for murder may be established by the fact that a person committed an act resulting in the death of the victim in an attempt to commit, or during or immediately after the commission of a crime punishable by 25 years imprisonment: s. 18 Crimes Act. For practical purposes it should be noted that robbery with wounding, and robbery with a dangerous weapon, but not most other forms of robbery, carry 25 years.
It is not necessary to establish a causal connection between the felony and the death: Munro: (1981) 4 A Crim R 67.
In a charge like robbery with wounding, by majority the High Court held that it is not necessary to show that the accused intended to cause the wounding if he did it: Ryan v The Queen (1967) 121 CLR 205. However, it is necessary for the prosecution to establish that the act was voluntary, and that is a question for the jury: Penza and Di Maria  NSWCCA 21 esp at para .
Apprehension murder: query if this exists in NSW: Fry (1992) 58 SASR 424, 67 [ALJ] 626.
Penalty for murder
For most offences, the maximum penalty for murder is life imprisonment: s. 19A Crimes Act.
However, where the person killed is a police officer executing his or her duty, or as a consequnce of or in retaliation for acting in his or her duty, there is an automatic sentence of life imprisonment, unless theoffencer was under the age of 18 or was suffering from a significant cognitive impairment at the time (s. 19B Crimes Act).
The following situations are sufficient to establish manslaughter :
It is not necessary for the jury to reach a verdict of guilty
of manslaughter on the same basis of liability: Cramp (1999) 110 A Crim 198.
In order to establish manslaughter by way of negligence, the prosecution must establish the following:
(1) that the accused had a duty of care to the deceased;
(2) that the accused was negligent in that by the accused’s act, the accused was in breach of that duty of care
(3) that such act of the accused [caused/accelerated] the death of the deceased; and
(4) that such act merited criminal punishment because:
(i) it fell so far short of the standard of care which a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances; and
(ii) involved such a high risk that death or really serious bodily harm would follow; and
(iii) the degree of negligence involved in the conduct is so serious that it should be treated as criminal conduct.
See Nydam  VR 430 and Lavender v The Queen (2005) 222 CLR 67.
The test an objective
one; it is not necessary for the Crown to show that the accused was aware of the
risk: Nydam  VR 430 and Buttsworth  1 NSWLR 658, but see Andrews 
AC 576. In Lavender  NSWCCA 120 the NSW CCA held that there is a requirement for the Crown to establish that the accused realised
that there was an appreciable risk of harm. However this approach was rejected by the High Court in Lavender v The Queen (2005) 222 CLR 67. There must be a very high degree of negligence that equates
to recklessness: Andrews, Buttsworth.
Unlawful and Dangerous Act.
In order to establish manslaughter by unlawful and dangerous act it is necessary to establish:
It is then an objective test and does not take into account the idiosyncrasies or ephemeral emotional condition of the accused: Wills  2 VR 201. In Lavender  NSWCCA 120 the NSW CCA held that it was necessary for the Crown to establish that that the accused realised that he was exposing others to an appreciable risk of serious injury, but this was overturned by the High Court in Lavender v The Queen (2005) 222 CLR 67.
It used to be said that the unlawful and dangerous act had to be directed at the victim (Dalby  1 All ER 916) but this no longer appears to be the case: Goodfellow (1986) 83 Cr App R 23.
In England the House of Lords has held that a person who supplies a drug to a 'fully informed and responsible adult' is not guilty of manslaughter if the second person dies of an overdose: Regina v Kennedy (2007) UK HL 38. It is not clear if this is the law in Australia. In NSW it has been held that the mere offer and supply of a drug, without a relationship of authority (such as between a parent and a child), will no lead to criminal responsibility for the injury or death of the person given the drug: Regina v Wilhelm  NSWSC 334 esp at para , and Riley v Regina  NSWCCA 238. The mere supply of a drug to a sane person who decides to use it is not of itself enough to establish liability for manslaughter: Burns v The Queen  HCA 35 esp at paras , -. However in a case where the deceased injects a drug in the presence of the accused and subsequently falls ill, and later dies, there may be a breach of the duty of care which could found a conviction for manslaughter: Taktak (1988) 14 NSWLR 226.
The fact that an act is in breach of the Traffic Act does not necessarily make it unlawful: Pullman (1991) 58 A Crim R 222.
Assault causing death
As from 31 January 2014, there is an offence of 'assault causing death': s. 25A (1)Crimes Act. The elements of the offence are that:
The maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment.
If the accused is in addition over the age of 18 years and is intoxicated the maximum penalty is 25 years: s. 25A (2) Crimes Act. If it is proved that the accused has a blood alcohol level over 0.15 mg per 100 milliliteres of blood, it is conclusively established that the accused was intoxicated: s. 25A (6). Any head sentence under s. 25A(2) must be at least 8 years, as must be any non-parole period: s. 25B Crimes Act.
The Victorian doctrine of battery manslaughter (Holzer  VR 481) is no longer the law: Croft (1981) 3 A Crim R 307, Wilson v The Queen (1992) 174 CLR 313, 66 ALJR 517, (1992) 61 A Crim R 62.
Manslaughter By Excessive Self-Defence
The rule that murder could be reduced to manslaughter on the basis of excessive self-defence has an unusual history. The doctrine was confirmed by the High Court in Viro v The Queen (1978) 141 CLR 148. The High Court subsequently abolished it, largely on the grounds that it was too complicated, in Zecevic v DPP (Victoria) (1987) 162 CLR 645. However it has been re-introduced by s. 421 Crimes Act, which applies to legal proceedings (other than committals) which commence after 22 February 2002, regardless of when the offence was committed: s. 423.
Section 421 applies where:
(1) the person uses force involving the intentional or reckless infliction of death;
(2) the conduct is not a reasonable response in the circumstances as the person perceived them
(3) but the person believed the conduct was necessary to defend himself/herself or another person, or to prevent or terminate the unlawful deprivation of his/her liberty or that of another person
In such a situation the person will be not guilty of murder,
but, unless some other defence is available, will be guilty of manslaughter.
The second element referred to above is necessary because if the conduct was a "reasonable response in the circumstances as the person perceived them", there would be a complete defence of self-defence resulting in an acquittal (see s. 418).
In relation to assessing the appellant's belief, there is no requirement that the belief be reasonable, and it appears that the jury can take into account the fact that the defendant was effected by alcohol: Conlon (1993) 69 A Crim R 92. Section 428F of the Crimes Act does not exclude consideration of alcohol because there is no 'reasonable man' test: see Kurtic (1996) 85 A Crim R 57. It may be possible to take into account delusional beliefs of the defendant: Kurtic (1996) 85 A Crim R 57. See generally the section on Self-Defence in the next chapter.
Manslaughter By Omission.
The criminal law rarely imposes an obligation to do a positive act. Failure to do an act which results in death may constitute manslaughter in the following situations:
Manslaughter on Multiple Bases
It is not necessary for a jury to reach a verdict of manslaughter
on the same basis: Cramp (1999) 110 A Crim R 198, Dally (2000) 115 A Crim R 582.When the jury returns a verdict of manslaughter, it normally
should not be asked on what basis: Isaacs (1997) 90 A Crim R 587, overruling Low
(1991) 57 A Crim R 8.
Solicit to Murder.
The offence of solicit to murder is complete once the request to murder is made. Later withdrawal does not effect liability: Wright (1997) 4 Crim LN .
The penalty for murder is life imprisonment. However the judge may impose a lesser sentence (ss. 19A Crimes Act and s. 21 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act).
The 'standard non-parole period' for murders committed after 2 February 2003 (where the victim was a police worker, emergency services worker, prison officer, judicial officer, health worker, teacher, community worker, or other public official, exercising public or community functions and the offence arose because of the victims occupation) is 25 years. For other murders committed after 2 February 2003, the standard non-parole period is 20 years. For attempt murder and conspiracy to murder committed after 2 February 2003, the standard non-parole period is 10 years.
Leaving Defences to the Jury.
Defences available on the facts must be left to the jury even if the defence opposes this: Ward (1989) 42 A Crim R 56. This does not apply in non-jury trials: Ion (1996) 89 A Crim R 81.
(a) autrefois acquit and convict
Generally, if an accused has been already been convicted of an offence, or acquitted of an offence, he cannot again be convicted of the same offence arising from exactly the same circumstances. The judge has a discretion to stay a second set of proceedings arising out of the same or substantially the same circumstances unless the prosecution establishes that because of special circumstances there should not be a stay: Connelly  AC 1254, Beedie  2 Cr App R 167, The Queen v Carroll (2002) 213 CLR 635.
However, exceptions have been created to this rule by statute. On application by the DPP, the Court of Criminal Appeal may order that a person who has been acquitted be retried for an offence carrying a maximum penalty of life, if there is fresh and compelling evidence of the guilt of the accused, and if it is in the interests of justice for the order to be made: s. 100 Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act. Evidence is 'compelling' if it is reliable, substantial, and highly probative in the case against the accused: s. 102 Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act.
On application by the DPP, the Court of Criminal Appeal may order that a person who has been acquitted be retried for an offence carrying 15 years or more gaol as a maximum penalty, if someone has been convicted of an administration of justice offence relating to the earlier trial (for example, perjury), and if it is more likely than not that, but for the commission of the administration of justice offence, the accused would have been convicted: s. 101 Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act.
Autrefois convict does not apply where there are convictions for two different offences
constituted by the same act: Pearce v The Queen (1998) 194 CLR 610. However, in a situation where an accused is charged with an offence, and is acquitted, and is later charged with a second offence arising out of the same circumstances, autrefois acquit may apply if either all the elements of the first offence are contained within the second offence, or vice versa: Island Maritime v Filipowski (2006) 228 ALR 1 esp at paras  (per Gummow and Hayne JJ) and  (per Kirby J).
By analogy with autrefois acquit, where a person has been acquitted of an offence
after giving evidence, a charge that the accused committed perjury by asserting his
innocence should be stayed: The Queen v Carroll (2002) 213 CLR 635.
(b) Fitness to be Tried
Onus of Proof.
In state matters, there is no onus of proof, and the burden of proof is on the balance of probabilities: s. 6 Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act.
In Commonwealth matters arguably the NSW onus applies: Kesavarajah v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 230, 68 ALJR 670, (1994) 74 A Crim R 100. At common law the onus of proof is on the accused if he alleges
that he is unfit to be tried on the balance of probabilities, but on the Crown if
it alleges it: Podola  1 QB 325.
Fitness to Be Tried.
The accused must understand the following to be fit to be tried:
(Presser  VR 45, Ngatanyi v The Queen (1980) 147 CLR 1 , Kesavarajah v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 230, 68 ALJR 670, (1994) 74 A Crim R 100). The cause of the unfitness is not limited to mental illness, and at least also includes developmental disability: Mailes (2000-2001) 53 NSWLR 251. The condition of the accused not only at the time of the application but also throughout the length of the trial must be taken into account: Kesavarajah. An inability to remember the incident said to be the crime (such as blackouts or amnesia) does not constitute unfitness: Drummond (1994) PD . It is not sufficient that there is a reduced capacity to meet the Presser test: Rivkin (2004) 59 NSWLR 284. The fact that an accused is sleeping through parts of the trial may not be enough to establish that he was infit to be tried: Feili v Regina  NSWCCA 43.
Where the accused's lawyer or the Crown has expert medical opinion that the accused is unfit to be tried, there is an obligation to draw this material to the attention of the judge, it seems even if the accused does not wish the issue to be raised: Eastman v The Queen (2000) 203 CLR 1 esp at para  (per Hayne J.). See also Regina v Mailes (2001) 53 NSWLR 251 esp at para  and the report of Miles AJ into the conviction of David Eastman especially at para .
The relevant time for the test of fitness is the time of the trial, not the time of the offence: Dennison (CCA 3/3/88). There must be a report, an affidavit, or submissions raising suspicions before it is raised as an issue: Coffee (1992) PD .
The question of a person's fitness to be tried is normally to be determined by a judge alone: s. 11 Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act.
However, the question must be determined by a jury if an election is made by the prosecution, the accused's lawyer, or by the accused (if the court is satisfied that he has sought and received advice on this issue and has understood this advice): s. 21A Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act. It has been held that the judge must satisfy himself/herself that the barrister or solicitor appearing for the accused is satisfied that the accused properly understood the nature of the election he/she was making. Failure to make such an inquiry and to make such a finding has been held to be an appellable error: Regina v Minani (2005) 63 NSWLR 490 at paras  and .
The procedure to be followed if a person is found to be unfit to be tried is extremely complicated procedure set out in the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act (1990). If a further determination is made that the person is unlikely to be found unfit to be tried within 12 months, there can be a 'special hearing' on the basis of the limited evidence available.
The special hearing should be conducted as closely as possible to a criminal trial, and in particular there should be a formal arraignment: Zvonaric (2001) 54 NSWLR 1. A model explanation of the proceedings was given in Subramaniam v The Queen (2004) 211 ALR 1 at para . It seems in a special hearing, counsel for the accused may raise mental illness as a defence even if expressly instructed not to raise it: Dezfouli v Regina  NSWCCA 86 esp at para .
If the person is found guilty on the basis of the limited evidence available, a limiting term must be set, which is the longest period the person can be detained as a forensic patient, and which should represent the total sentence which the court would impose had the person been fit to be tried. A non-parole period and parole period should not be set: Mitchell (1999) 108 A Crim R 85, Mailes (2004) 62 NSWLR 181 . The court should not give the offender the benefit of any discount for contrition in this situation: Mitchell (1999) 108 A Crim R 85.
The limiting term imposed as a sentence can be backdated to take into account periods of pre-sentence custody: Parker (1990) 47 A Crim R 281, s. 23 (5) Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act (1990). However the limiting term cannot commence after the time when the limiting term is imposed: s. 23 (5) Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act (1990). A court cannot release a forensic patient conditionally or unconditionally after imposing a limiting term: DPP v Khoury  NSWCA 15.
Unfitness in the Local Court
There are no specific provisions for dealing with unfitness to be tried in the Local Court. It has been held that where a defendant in Local Court proceedings is found to be unfit to be tried, he should be discharged: Mantell v Molyneux (2006) 165 A Crim R 83.
(c) Mental Illness
It is a defence if it is proved that at the time of commission of the offence the accused labouring under such a defect of reason from disease of the mind that he did not know the nature and quality of the act or that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong: M'Naghten [1843-60] All ER 229, Commonwealth Criminal Code section 7.3. The irresistible impulse doctrine as a separate doctrine has been rejected: Sodeman v The Queen (1936) 55 CLR 230.
It has been held that the defence of mental illness can be raised in Local Court proceedings: Regina v McMahon  NSWDC 81.
In the opinion of the writer, this defence should only be raised in cases other than murder in the most exceptional circumstances, because of the risk that a resolution under the mental health legislation might lead to a longer period of incarceration than a plea of guilty with a strong case in mitigation.
Disease of the Mind.
The cause of the disease of the mind is irrelevant, as is whether it is temporary or curable or not: Kemp  1 QB 399. Mere lack of self-control is insufficient: Regina v Porter (1933) 55 CLR 182. Alcohol withdrawal psychosis is included: Kina (1996) 3 Crim LN 36.
Nature and Quality of the Act.
It may be established that the accused did not understand the physical nature of the act he was committing, such as thinking he was breaking a twig: Porter.
Or that He Was Doing Wrong.
Wrong means not legally wrong (as in England: Windle (1952) 2 QB 826) but morally wrong according to the ideas of ordinary men: Stapleton v The Queen (1952) 86 CLR 358. In Regina v Porter (1933) 55 CLR 182 Dixon CJ said 'If through the disordered condition of the mind he could not reason about the matter with a moderate degree of sense and composure it may be said that he could not know that what he was doing was wrong'.
Directions as to Consequences.
Under s. 37 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act the judge must explain the consequences of the possible findings. This may include explaining to the jury the consequences of finding the accused guilty: Hilder (1997) 4 Crim LN .
Consequences of a finding of not guilty by reason of mental illness
If a person is found not guilty by reason of mental illness the court must generally order that the accused be detained in such manner and in such place as the court deems fit until released by due process of law: s. 39 Mental Health (Forensic Procedures) Act.
The court also has the power to release the accused, either conditionally, but only if the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the safety of the accused or any member of the public will not be seriously endangered by the person's release: s. 39 Mental Health (Forensic Procedures) Act. It is relatively rare for such an order to be made unless the accused has made a full recoverybetween the time of the offence and the hearing.
People found not guilty by reason of mental illness are not given a fixed sentence. They are reviewed every 6 months by the Mental Health Tribunal which can make orders as to the person's continued detention, care or treatment in a mental health facility, prison or other place. The Tribunal may also order the person's release, either conditionally or unconditionally: s. 47 Mental Health (Forensic Procedures) Act. The requirement of approval by the Attorney General has been recently removed.
Mental Illness in the Local Court.
Ss. 31-36 Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act apply to:
but not committals.
Where a person is suffering, or was suffering at the time of the offence, from a developmental disability or a mental illness (a condition treatable but not a 'mentally ill person' under the meaning of the Mental Health Act 2007) and on an outline of facts it appears appropriate to deal with it under this part, the magistrate can:
The magistrate should consider the following (DPP v Lopez-Aguilar  NSWSC 1019 esp at para ):
(1) does the accused have a relevant mental condition;
(2) would it be more appropriate to deal with the accused under s. 32 rather than at law; and
(3)which of the dispositions in s. 32 would be appropriate
In determining whether or not it is appropriate to deal with the matter under s. 32, the magistrate can take into account the seriousness of the offences (Confos v DPP  NSWSC 1159, DPP v Mawas (2006) 66 NSWLR 93) and the fact that the offences were planned (DPP v Mawas (2006) 66 NSWLR 93). The magistrate can also take into account the fact that orders pursuant to the Act can effectively only have 6 months duration: Mantell v Molyneux (2006) 165 A Crim R 83.
An order discharging the defendant into the care of a responsible person or conditional upon the defendant attending upon a person or place for assessment and treatment must specify the relevant person or place: DPP v Saunders  NSWCCA 760 esp at para .
If the offender does not comply with the conditions the magistrate may call on the offender to attend court and be resentenced. This provision is not limited
to unfitness to be tried: Mackie v Hunt (1989) 44 A Crim R 426, Perry v Forbes (Bulletin
If it appears to a magistrate that a person is a mentally ill person under the Mental Health Act 1990 the magistrate can order that the person be taken to hospital for assessment or care, or discharge the person into the care of a responsible person. If the person is not returned to court within 6 months the charges are deemed dismissed. The time the person spends in hospital must be taken into account in determining the penalty: s. 33.
(d) Substantial Impairment by Abnormality of Mind
S. 23A Crimes Act- Substantial impairment (formerly diminished responsibility) reduces murder to manslaughter if:
(1)at the time of the acts/omissions causing death the person's capacity to
was substantially impaired by an abnormality of mind arising from an underlying condition AND
(2)the impairment was so substantial as to warrant liability for murder being reduced to manslaughter
'Substantial' means less than total, more than trivial or minimal: Trotter (1993) 68 A Crim R 536.
The onus of proof is on the accused on the balance of probabilities: Elliot and Hitchins (1983) 9 A Crim R 238. The judge should not comment on the failure of the accused to give evidence: Bathurst (1968) 1 All ER 1175.
Abnormality of Mind.
Under previous legislation it was held that the abnormality of mind must be so different from ordinary human beings that a reasonable man would call it 'abnormal': Byrne (1960) 2 QB 396. Self induced intoxication is to be disregarded: s. 23A(3), Jones (1986) 22 A Crim R 42. However the jury should not be directed that if the accused had not taken drink/drugs he/she would not have killed, the defence is not available. If both drugs and the abnormality substantially impaired the accused's capacity, the defence is still available: Regina v Deitschmann  UKHL 10. Steroid rage does not constitute an abnormality of mind: De Souza (1997) 95 A Crim R 1.
The abnormality of mind must arise from an underlying condition,
which is defined as a pre-existing mental or physiological condition, other than
a condition of a transitory kind: s. 23A(8), McGarvie (1986) 5 NSWLR
It is open to the jury to reject medical evidence but only where there is other evidence throwing doubt upon it: Tumananko (1992) 64 A Crim R 149 at 160.
The accused must not without leave of the court adduce evidence
tending to prove that he is not guilty by reason of substantial impairment unless
he has given notice in writing to the DPP, including names and addresses of witnesses
and particulars of the evidence to be given by these witnesses: s. 49 Criminal Procedure Act. A
prescribed form can be found as Form 2 to the Criminal Procedure Regulation (2005).
There is a precedent Notice of Intention to Adduce Evidence of Substantial Impairment in this site.
Automatism. See Chapter 3 above.
For offences committed before 16 August 1996, intoxication such that there was no intention is a defence for all offences including manslaughter (Martin (1984) 58 ALJR 217, O'Connor v The Queen (1980) 146 CLR 64). For offences committed after 16 August 1996, intoxication is irrelevant for voluntariness, and only provides a defence in relation to intention when the offence is one of specific intent, such as murder, and maliciously inflict gbh with intent (s. 428 C-D Crimes Act, Commonwealth Criminal Code sections 4.2 and 8.2).
The jury must be specifically directed that the accused's intoxication is relevant to the question of whether he had the necessary intent: Bellchambers v Regina  NSWCCA 235.
Murder is an offence of specific intent, regardless of the
legal basis on which it has been found that murder has been committed: Grant (2002) 55 NSWLR 80, 131 A Crim R 510.
The defence of self defence has now been codified. For proceedings which commence after 22 February 2002 (excluding committals) (see s. 423 Crimes Act), the following applies:
A person carries out conduct in self-defence if and only if the person believes the conduct is necessary:
(a) to defend himself or herself or another person, or
(b) to prevent or terminate the unlawful deprivation of his or her liberty or the liberty of another person, or
(c) to protect property from unlawful taking, destruction, damage or interference, or
(d) to prevent criminal trespass to any land or premises or to remove a person committing any such criminal trespass,
and the conduct is a reasonable response in the circumstances
as he or she perceives them (s. 418 Crimes Act, Commonwealth Criminal Code section 10.4).
Taking into account the onus of proof in a criminal prosecution, to negative a defence of self defence, once raised, the prosecution must establish beyond reasonable doubt either that:
(1) the accused did not genuinely believe that he did what he did in self-defence, OR
(2) that the accused did was not a reasonable response to the danger, as he perceived it to be
(Katarzynski  NSWSC 613 at para , Dziduch (1990) 47 A Crim R 378)
The defence is not limited to situations where death or serious bodily injury is threatened: Honeysett (1987) 34 A Crim R 277. Before self-defence can be left to a jury there must be a threat of immediate harm: PRFN  NSWCCA 230.
The defence of self-defence does not have to be left to the jury if the accused denies causing the victim any injury: Flanagan v Regina  NSWCCA 320.
The first leg of the test is completely subjective. It is insufficient for the Crown to prove that the belief of the accused was unreasonable: Katarzynski  NSWSC 613. The second leg of the test is whether the conduct of the defendant was a reasonable response in the circumstances as he or she perceived them.
As to the first leg of the test, it is not necessary for the accused to give evidence that he had a belief that it was necessary to act in the way that he did in defence of himself or another if there was a basis for that conclusion based on other evidence or an inference from that evidence: Colosimo v DPP  NSWCA 293 esp at , Flanagan v Regina  NSWCCA 320 esp at para .
As to the second leg, the test relates to whether the defendant's actions were reasonable, not to whether a reasonable man would have done the same thing: Conlon (1993) 69 A Crim R 92. As a result s. 428F Crimes Act does not apply, and the court can take into account characteristics of the defendant such as intoxication (Conlon (1993) 69 A Crim R 92) and possibly delusional beliefs (Kurtic (1996) 85 A Crim R 57). However in Katarzynski  NSWSC 613. Howie J said that Conlon no longer applied, and said that intoxication could not be taken into account. 'Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an upturned knife': Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes In Brown v The United States, quoted with approval by Dixon J in Howe v The Queen (1958) 100 CLR 448 at para .
Once self defence is raised in the evidence, the Crown must
satisfy the court that the defendant was not acting in self-defence beyond reasonable
doubt: s. 419 Crimes Act. Even if self-defence
is raised in the Crown case, the issue may only be determined by the jury: DPP Ref
(No. 1) (1992) 60 A Crim R 43.
Self defence is not excluded because the conduct that the defendant was responding to was lawful, or because the person carrying out the conduct to which the defendant responds was not criminally responsible for it: s. 422 Crimes Act, Thomas (1993) 65 A Crim R 269. Thus the defence can be raised even if the alleged victim was lawfully in the execution of his duty in arresting the accused: Crawford v Regina  NSWCCA 166.
Self defence is not available as a defence to murder, when force is used to protect property only or to prevent trespass: s. 420.
Duress is a defence to most crimes if the actor was acting under the threat of death or serious bodily harm: Lynch v DPP  AC 653. Once raised, the Crown must exclude the defence beyond reasonable doubt: Youssef (1990) 50 A Crim R 1.
To convict, the jury must be satisfied that:
Abusafiah sets out standard directions. Slightly different standard directions in the Bench Book were approved by the Court of Criminal in Makriynikos  NSWCCA 170 at para . In Victoria the direction is whether or not a person of reasonable firmness could or might have acted the way the accused did: Lanciana (1996) 84 Crim R 268.
A crucial question in determining whether or not the accused failed to take advantage of an opportunity to render the threat ineffective was whether or not the accused could have contacted the police: Taiapa v The Queen  HCA 53.
In theory, self-defence may be available to a principal in the second degree who is not present when the offence is committed (for example someone who contracts with another to kill someone) (see Ryan and Coulter v Regina  NSWCCA 175 esp at para , but clearly there would be difficulties in succeeding in this defence on a practical level.
In Commonwealth offences, duress will be available if and only if the defendant reasonably believes that
(Commonwealth Criminal Code section 10.2). It has been held that the objective test takes into account the objective circumstances of the threats not the accused's perceptions of them: Oblach v Regina (2005) 65 NSWLR 75, 158 A Crim R 586 . The defence should be left to the jury if there is some evidence, which taken at its highest would raise the three matters referred to above as a reasonable possibility: Commonwealth Criminal Code section 13.3, Mirzazadeh v Regina  NSWCCA 65 esp at paras  to .
Duress and Murder.
Formerly duress was a defence available to principals in the second degree for murder (Lynch v DPP  AC 653) but not to principals in the first degree: McConnell, McFarland and Holland  1 NSWLR 714 overruling McCafferty  1 NSWLR 89. In England duress is not available to either: Howe  1 All ER 771, followed in NSW in Bassett and Steele (1994) PD .
Necessity may be a defence where a person does a criminal act by reason only of his mind being overborne by threats of death or serious bodily violence, to himself or another, such that an ordinary person of the like age and sex, would have done the act: Lawrence  1 NSWLR 122.
For Commonwealth offences, the defence is only available if
(Commonwealth Criminal Code section
The defence of necessity may assist a fireman driving through a red light (Buckoke v Greater London Council  Ch 655) but not homeless squatters (London Borough of Southwark v Williams  2 All ER 175) or murderers: Dudley and Stephens (1884) 14 QBD 273. However it may be a defence to escape: Loughnan  VR 443, but there will usually need to be evidence that protection was not available: Rogers (1996) 86 A Crim R 542.
In NSW and Victoria an abortion is lawful if the doctor honestly grounds that
Provocation is only a defence to murder (s. 23(1) Crimes Act) and is a partial defence, which, if succesful, reduces murder to manslaughter (s. 23(1) Crimes Act). For other offences (such as assault and battery) it may be a mitigating factor on sentence but it not a defence: Fontin v Katapodis (1962) 108 CLR 177.
When can Provocation be left to the jury?
If the issue of provocation arises on the evidence it must be left to the jury even if the defence counsel does not wish it raised: Van Den Hoek v The Queen (1986) 161 CLR 158. It can be raised at committal: Kolalich v DPP (1991) 173 CLR 222, 57 A Crim R 237, 66 ALJR 25.
Elements of Provocation.
An act that otherwise would be murder will be reduced to manslaughter if there is 'extreme provocation', which is defined as
The defence does not apply if (s. 23( 3)):
The onus of proof is on the Crown to exclude provocation beyond reasonable doubt once it is raised as an issue by some evidence.
The decision as to whether or not to leave the defence of provocation to the jury
It may be open to a jury to have a reasonable doubt as to whether or not the prosecution has excluded provocation even though on the facts it would be unreasonable to find affirmatively that provocation existed: see Lindsay v The Queen (2015) 89 ALJR 518 esp at para .
Model directions for provocation are found in Starr (NSW SC Hunt J 12/10/94 u/r). To exclude the defence the Crown must establish beyond reasonable doubt either:
It used to be said that mere words (and in particular a confession of adultery) would never suffice to provocation ( Holmes  AC 588) but see Parker v The Queen (1963) 111 CLR 610 and Moffa v The Queen (1977) 138 CLR 601. It is not necessary to show that the words are 'grossly insulting': Lees  NSWCCA 301. The provocation needn't come shortly before the killing: Chhay (1994) 72 A Crim R 1, s.23(4) Crimes Act.
The Subjective Test.
The words or conduct must be of the deceased in the presence of the accused (Quartly (1986) 22 A Crim R 25) or possibly a person associated with the accused closely (Tumananko (1992) 64 A Crim R 149, Hall  NSWCCA 202) but words or actions not in the presence of the accused may provide a context to otherwise innocent words by the deceased: Queen v R (1981) 28 SASR 321. However the decision of Quartly was doubted by the High Court in Davis (1998) 73 ALJR 139.
There must be a loss of self control, not just anger or excitement: Peisley (1990) 54 A Crim R 42.
The Objective Test.
The content and the extent of the provocation must be viewed from the viewpoint of the accused, including his age, race, sex, physical features (Stingel v The Queen (1990) 171 CLR 312 at 326) but not exceptional pugnacity or excitability (Camplin (1978) AC 705) and not affected by liquor: Croft (1981) 1 NSWLR 126. The significance of the deceased's conduct is to be judged by its significance to the accused, including his personal history and experiences (including a peculiar sensitivity to homosexual advances): Green v The Queen (1997) 148 ALR 659, (1997) 72 ALJR 19.
The jury must then consider whether or not the provocation so assessed might cause an ordinary person of the age of the accused to do what he did (Stingel at 331, Baragith (1991) 54 A Crim R 240). The question was not what an ordinary person would have done, but what the ordinary person could have been induced to to intend: Green v The Queen (1997) 191 CLR 334. The question of whether having lost self-control the accused was no longer provoked is to be judged on a subjective basis: Masciantonio v The Queen (1995) 183 CLR 58, 69 ALJR 598, (1995) 80 A Crim R 331.
'Ordinary' person does not mean 'reasonable person' (Stingel at 328) or an average person (at 331) because the ordinary person is a person whose powers of self-control are within the limits of what is ordinary for a person of that age.
There are no longer rules that:
(s. 23(3) Crimes Act)
Sentencing in Provocation Cases.
A helpful consideration of the range and principles in a sentence for manslaughter by reason of provocation is found in Alexander (1995) 78 A Crim R 141.
(i) Age of Accused
There is an irrebuttable presumption that a child under 10 cannot be guilty of an offence: s. 5 Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act, Commonwealth Criminal Code, section 7.1. For children from 10 to 14 the test is rebuttable: Commonwealth Criminal Code section 7.2.
The test is whether or the Crown has shown that the child knew that the act would subject him to punishment: Whitty (1993) 66 A Crim R 462. The Crown must have establish beyond reasonable doubt that the child knew when he/she did the act that it was 'seriously wrong' or 'gravely wrong' as distinct from mere naughtiness or childish mischief: BP and SW  NSWCCA 172 esp at para . See also RP v Regina  NSWCCA 215 at  to  and  to , RP v The Queen (2016) 91 ALJR 248,  HCA 53, esp at para .
Mere proof of the act charged, no matter how obviously wrong, will not suffice: C v DPP  1 AC 1, CRH (NSW CCA u/r 18/12/96), (1997) 4 Crim LN , RP v The Queen (2016) 91 ALJR 248,  HCA 53, esp at para . The prior convictions of the child are not admissible (CRH (1997) 4 Crim LN ) unless the facts of the case are not in dispute (I v Griffiths (1998) 5 Crim LN ).
6/. Offences of Violence.
Assault and Battery.
Assault can constitute either
The mens rea for assault is intention to cause apprehension or recklessness. It is not clear if the foresight of the probability or possibility of required: compare MacPherson v Brown (1975) 12 SASR 184 and Venna  3 WLR 737. The actus reus is that the victim was actually put in fear. It may be necessary to show that a person of reasonable firmness would be put in fear: Barton v Armstrong  2 NSWLR 451. Pointing a toy pistol will suffice: Everingham (1949) 66 WN (NSW) 122.
Words used over the telephone may constitute assault but there must be a threat of violence which can be immediately be carried out: Barton v Armstrong  2 NSWLR 451, Knight (1988) 35 A Crim R 314.
As a general rule it is not necessary to establish a hostile intent. However if there is a minor infliction of force the existence of a hostile intent may convert it into an assault: Boughey v The Queen (1986) 161 CLR 10.
Consent is a defence to assault where the blow is not struck in anger, but not where the blows where likely or intended to cause actual bodily harm: Donovan  2 KB 498, Brown (1992) 2 All ER 552. Playing sport does not involve consent to assaults: Stanley (1995) PD .
Consent in medical cases
In a criminal case where the allegation is that a medical procedure constitutes some form of assault, it is sufficient defence if the accused establishes that the patient was advised in broad terms of the nature of the proecdure to be performed: Rogers v Whitaker (1992) 17 CLR 474 at 490, para , Regina v Reeves  NSWCCA 34 esp at para , Reeves v The Queen  HCA 57 at para . For a prosecution to succeed, it is unnecessary for the prosecution to establish malice: Regina v Reeves  NSWCCA 34 esp at para .
Spitting on someone constitutes a battery: JWH (1997) 4 Crim LN .
Common assault is an offence which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years gaol: s. 61 Crimes Act. It is a Table 2 offence.
Contrary to a literal reading of s. 8 Criminal Procedure Act, it has been held that a charge of common assault can be dealt with on indictment in higher courts: Fisher (2002) 54 NSWLR 467.
Actual Bodily Harm.
Actual bodily harm is any harm more than transient and trifling, but need not be permanent: Donovan. Bruises and scratches are typical examples: McIntyre v Regina (2009) 198 A Crim R 549 at para . Emotional harm does not suffice unless there is evidence of psychiatric harm: Chan Fook (1994) 1 WLR 689. It is not necessary to prove intent to inflict actual bodily harm: Percoli (1986) 42 SASR, Williams (1990) 50 A Crim R 213. Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (s. 59) carries 5 years, and 7 years if in company. It is a Table 2 offence.
Grievous bodily harm.
'Grievous bodily harm' means bodily harm of a really serious kind: Smith (1960) 3 All ER 161. This may not include disfigurement only: Tranby (1991) 52 A Crim R 228. Where maliciously inflict gbh with intent is charged, there must be specific intent, not merely recklessness: McKnoulty (1995) PD . Where reckless infliction of grievous bodily harm is charged, the prosecution must prove that the accused foresaw the possibility (as opposed to probability) of grievous bodily harm being inflicted: Aubrey v The Queen  HCA 18 esp at paras  to .
For the charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm to be made out, it is not necessary for the Crown to establish that the defendant applied force to the complainant causing immediate injury. Thus, for example, causing someone to contract a disease (such as AIDS) can constitute inflicting grievous bodily harm: Regina v Aubrey  NSWCCA 254, Aubrey v The Queen  HCA 18. An undisplaced fracture not requiring ongoing treatment and not causing a permanant injury was held not to constitute 'grievous bodily harm' in Swan v Regina  NSWCCA 79 esp at paras  to .
The penalties for recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm is 10 years (s. 35 (2)), 14 years if in company (s. 35 (1)) or with intent to inflict gbh or resist arrest or prevent the apprehension of any person (s. 33), 25 years.
For the offence of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm (s. 35 (2)), there is a standard non-parole period of 4 years, or, if in company (s. 35 (1)), 5 years: Table of Standard Non-Parole Periods, Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
For offences of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent (s. 33) committed after 3 February
2003 the 'standard non-parole period' is 7 years.
For there to be a wounding there must be a breaking or cutting of the 2 layers of the skin: Smith (1837) 8 Carrington and Payne 173, Shepherd  NSWCCA 351. The two layers of the skin are usually referred to as the dermis and the epidermis.
The mens rea (or mental element) for the offence of malicious inflict grievous bodily harm or wounding is for the offence is foresight of the possibility of grievous bodily harm. Foresight of some harm is insufficient: Blackwell v Regina (2011) 208 A Crim R 392 esp at para . See also Lawton v Regina  NSWCCA 16.
The penalty is 7 years (s. 35 (4)), if in company 10 years (s. 35 (3)), or with intent to inflict gbh or resist arrest or prevent the apprehension of any person (s. 33), 25 years.
There is a standard non-parole period of 3 years for the basic offence of reckless wounding (s. 35 (4)), and for the offence of reckless wounding in company ( s. 35 (3)), 4 years: Table of Standard Non-Parole Periods, Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
For offences of reckless wounding with intent (s. 33) committed after 3 February 2003 the 'standard non-parole period' is 7 years.
For the offence of assaulting, stalking, or intimidating a police officer, in the execution of his duty, where no actual bodily harm is inflicted, the maximum penalty is 5 years (s. 60(1)).
For the offence of assaulting a police officer, while in
the execution of his duty, and inflicting actual bodily harm, the maximum penalty
is 5 years (s. 60(2)). For offences committed
after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 3 years.
For the offence of maliciously wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm on a police
officer while in the execution of his duties, the maximum penalty is 12 years (s. 60(3)). For offences committed
after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 5 years.
Generally these offences only apply if the victim was a police officer while the officer was in the course of execution of his duty. However, these offences apply if the officer was not on duty, but the assault was committed in consequence of or in retaliation for actions of the police officer in the execution of his/her duty, or because the victim was a police officer (s. 60(4)).The prosecution must generally show that the officer was acting in the execution of his duties: Donnelly v Jackman (1970) 1 All ER 987, Weekes v Lahood [CN 129].
It seems that in a prosecution for assault police it is not necessary to prove that the person knew that the person was a policeman: The Queen v Reynhoudt (1962) 107 CLR 381, criticised by Brennan J in He Kaw Teh v The Queen (1985) 157 CLR 523, 60 ALR 449 at 489.
In order to prove that a person has 'intimidated' a police officer it is necessary to show either that the person's conduct has induced fear in the police officer or effected his conduct: Mellor v Low (2000) 48 NSWLR 517. A person convicted of intimidating a police officer cannot based on the same conduct also be convicted of harassing a police officer because the latter is subsumed in the former: Vella v DPP (2005) 156 A Crim R 113. It has been held that a threat communicated from a defendant communicated to the alleged victim by another police officer can constitute intimidation: DPP v Best  NSWCSC 261 esp at para .
The offence of intimidation is an offence of specific intent so a defence of intoxication applies.
Resist or Hinder Police
It is an offence to resist or wilfully obstruct a police officer in the execution of his/her duty: s. 58 Crimes Act. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.
It is an offence to resist or hinder a police officer in the execution of his duty: s. 546C Crimes Act. The offence of resisting or hindering a police officer in the execution of his/her duty carries a penalty of 12 months imprisonment or $1100:
The actus reus of hinder police is any active interference or obstruction which makes the duty of the police officer substantially more difficult of performance: Leonard v Morris (1975) 10 SASR 528 at 531.
It has been held that a person who runs away from police is not guilty of hindering police: Taufahema (2006) 162 A Crim R 12.
Using an Offensive Instrument to Prevent Arrest.
It is an offence to possess, use, attempt or threaten to use an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence or to prevent or hinder the arrest of any person or any investigation. The maximum penalty is 12 years or if in company 15 years: s. 33B.
An inoffensive object may become offensive by its use and intent: Hamilton (1993) 66 A Crim R 575. An equivocal object like a knife is only an offensive instrument if there is an intention to use it as a weapon: Haigh (1995) PD .
In a very strange decision the Court of Criminal Appeal has held that where an accused drives a vehicle intending to break the grip of a police officer with a grip in him, the car is being used as an 'offensive instrument': Regina v Harkins  NSWCCA 263.
Discharging a Firearm with Intent
It is an offence to discharge or attempt to discharge loaded arms with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful arrest of any person. The penalty is 14 years or if in company 20 years (s. 33A Crimes Act).
It is an offence to shoot at or attempt to discharge loaded
arms at any person with intent to resist the lawful arrest of any person. The penalty
is 25 years: s. 33 Crimes Act. For offences
committed after 3 February 2003 the 'standard non-parole period' is 7 years. To 'shoot at' means to intend to hit a person: Marshall
(1987) 26 A Crim R 259, Abdallah (2005) 157 A Crim R 219 esp at para .
It is an offence to take or detain a person without the person's consent for ransom or for any other advantage: s. 86 Crimes Act. It appears that it is necessary for the prosecution to establish that the accused complainant did not consent to be taken away or detained, and that the accused did not believe that she was willing or consenting: DMC (2002) 137 A Crim R 246.
'Advantage' is wide enough to include an intention to have sexual intercourse: Rowe (1996) 89 A Crim R 467, Robson  1 NSWLR 73.
If the victim is under 16, the accused is to be treated as acting without the consent of the child, unless the accused is the parent of the child, or is acting with the consent of a parent, and is not in contravention of any order of the court relating to the child: s. 86(5)-(6)
The elements of aggravated detain for advantage are that
Charlesworth v Regina  NSWCCA 27.
The penalty is
'Claim of right' is not a defence to kidnapping: Williams (2006) 160 A Crim R 151.
A person can be guilty of detain for advantage if he is present during some part of the detention and provided assistance and encouragement: Charlesworth v Regina  NSWCCA 27.
Common law offences of kidnapping and false imprisonment
It seems that there is still a common law offence of kidnapping: Nguyen and Tran (1998) 99 A Crim R 151.
At common law there is also an offence of unlawful imprisonment. The elements of the offence are:
(JCS & JMS (2006) 164 A Crim R 1 esp at para ).
Sexual intercourse is defined by statute as including oral sex, anal sex, insertion of objects, and continuation of any of the above: s. 61H. It doesn't matter how much of the lips are penetrated: Preval  3 NSWLR 647. Cunnilingus does not require proof of penetration: Randall (1991) 53 A Crim R 380.
A person consents to have sexual intercourse if the person freely and voluntarily agrees to sexual intercourse: s. 61HA (2).
The fact that a person does not offer physical resistance to sexual intercourse does not of itself establish that the person is to be regarded as consenting: s. 61HA (7).
Section 61HA does not apply to offences of attempted sexual intercourse without consent: WO v DPP  NSWCCA 275.
Absence of consent
A person's consent to have sexual intercourse may be negated:
(a) if the person does not have the capacity to consent to the sexual intercourse, (including because of age or cognitive incapacity), or
(b) if the person does not have the opportunity to consent to the sexual intercourse because the person is unconscious or asleep, or
(c) if the person consents to the sexual intercourse because of threats of force or terror (whether the threats are against, or the terror is instilled in, that person or any other person), or
(d) if the person consents to the sexual intercourse because the person is unlawfully detained (s. 61HA (4)).
The Crimes Act specifically provides that the grounds upon which it may be held that a person does not consent to sexual intercourse include the following:
(a) if the person has sexual intercourse while substantially intoxicated by alcohol or any drug, or
(b) if the person has sexual intercourse because of intimidatory or coercive conduct, or other threat, that does not involve a threat of force, or
(c) if the person has sexual intercourse because of the abuse of a position of authority or trust (s. 61HA (6)).
Apparent consent induced by a mistake
A person who consents to sexual intercourse with a person who knows that the victim has a mistaken belief as to the identity of the person, the nature of the sexual act involved, or as to whether or not they are married does not consent: s. 61HA (5). A mistake as to the nature of the act induced by fraudulent means is not consent: s. 61HA (5).
Consent Obtained by Threats
Consent obtained by threats or terror, or when the complainant has been unlawfully detained, is not consent: s. 61HA (4).
If a person consents because of intimidatory or other conduct or other threat not involving a threat of force a person consents it can be established that a person does not consent: s. 61HA (6). This provision appears to have overturned Regina v Aiken (2005) 63 NSWLR 719 which held that where the threat was non-violent (such as a threat to report an alleged shop-lifter) it could not be said that subsequent sexual intercourse was non-consensual.
Knowledge of absence of consent
In a prosecution for the offence of sexual intercourse without consent the prosecution must prove that the accused knew that the complainant did not consent.
The prosecution can establish that the accused had knowledge that the complainant did not consent to having sexual intercourse by establishing any of the following:
(a) the person knows that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse, or
(b) the person is reckless as to whether the other person consents to the sexual intercourse, or
(c) the person has no reasonable grounds for believing that the other person consents to the sexual intercourse (s. 61HA (3) )
Recklessness indifference as to the consent of the victim will suffice. Thus where the accused is aware that the victim possibly might not be consenting there is no consent: Zorad  2 NSWLR 764, Hemsley (1988) 36 A Crim R 334. The test is an entirely subjective one: O'Meagher (1997) 101 A Crim R 196. Where the accused does not consider the issue of consent at all, there is also no consent: Kitchener (1993) 29 NSWLR 696, Tolmie (1995) 84 A Crim R 293. If the accused is aware that there is a possibility that the complainant is not consenting, but goes ahead anyway, he is guilty of sexual intercourse without consent on the basis of recklessness: Banditt v The Queen (2005) 224 CLR 262.
The third leg of the mens rea ('the person has no reasonable grounds for believing...') is a divergence from the common law. At common law, the test of knowledge that the complainant was not consenting was a purely subjective test: see for example DPP v Morgan  AC 192. However the test of having no reasonable grounds to believe would appear to be a more stringent test a test of 'did not reasonably believe'.
In determining whether or not the accused knew that the complainant was consenting, the jury or judge must take into account all the circumstances of the case, including any steps the accused took to ascertain whether or not the complainant was consenting, but not taking into account the effects of self-induced intoxication: s. 61 HA (3). The 'steps' taken to ascertain whether or not the complainant is consenting must involve 'the taking of some positive act', although it need not be a physical one. It would appear to include the accused considering or reasoning in response to things which he or she perceives: Regina v Lazarus  NSWCCA 279 esp at para .
It would appear to follow that when two highly intoxicated people have what would otherwise be consensual sexual intercourse, both may theoretically be guilty of sexual intercourse without consent.
Abolition of Immunities.
It is no longer the case that boys under the age of 14 are
presumed to be incapable of sexual intercourse: s. 61S. The immunity of husbands
has also abolished: s. 61T. This abolition was held not to be unconstitutional: The Queen v L (1991) 174 CLR 379, 66 ALJR 36.
Sexual Assault with GBH.
Sexual assault category 1 is inflicting grievous bodily harm on the victim or a third person present and nearby with intent to have sexual intercourse or threatening to inflict actual bodily harm on the victim or a person nearby with an offensive weapon or instrument: s. 61K. If the threat of harm by means of an offensive instrument is relied on the Crown does not have to prove that an offensive weapon was produced: Tout (1987) 11 NSWLR 251. The penalty is 20 years.
Aggravated Sexual Assault.
Sexual assault is treated as aggravated if there are any of the following circumstances of aggravation:
For aggravated sexual assault the maximum penalty is 20 years (s. 61J). For offences committed after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 10 years.
Where s. 61J is charged, it is necessary for the prosecution to establish that the complainant did not consent even if the complainant is under 16: McGrath v Regina  NSWCCA 48.
As to the meaning of 'in company', it has been held that there must be such proximity as would enable the inference that the coercive effect of the group operated, either to embolden or reassure the offender in committing the crime, or to intimidate the victim into submission: Button and Griffen (2002) 54 NSWLR 455.
'Under the authority of a person' is defined as meaning if a person is under the 'care, or under the supervision or authority', of another person (s. 61H (2)). It has been held that those words are ordinary English words which do not require further explanation: KSC v Regina  NSWCCA 179 esp at para . Acting under authority may includes the employer/employee relationship: DH (1997) 4 Crim LN .
Where the age of the victim is alleged to be an aggravating factor, it is not clear that it must be proved that the accused knew of the complainant's age.
Aggravated Sexual Assault In Company
Aggravated sexual intercourse in company is committed when
The maximum penalty is life imprisonment: s. 61JA. For offences committed
after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 15 years.
Sexual Assault (not aggravated)
Sexual Assault is having sexual intercourse with a person without their consent knowing that they are not consenting: s. 61I. See also Morgan v DPP  AC 182, McEwan  2 NSWLR 926.
Where s. 61I is charged, it is necessary for the prosecution to establish that the complainant did not consent even if the complainant is under 16: McGrath v Regina  NSWCCA 48.
The maximum penalty is normally 14 years. For offences committed after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 7 years.
To be an indecent assault there must be an assault and at
the time of the assault or immediately before or after an act of indecency: s. 61L. The maximum penalty is
normally 5 years. If there are aggravating circumstances the penalty is 7
years: s. 61M(1). For offences committed
after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 5 years. However if the victim is under 16, the maximum penalty is
10 years: s. 61M (2). The 'standard non-parole period' is 8 years.
Where the victim is over the age of consent, the Crown must prove that the accused was aware that the complainant did not consent or the accused was reckless as to consent: Bonora (1994) 35 NSWLR 74, Kuckailis  NSWCCA 333.
The assault can be a non-hostile touching. If there is no touching, the action of the accused must cause a reasonable apprehension of physical violence: Fitzgerald v Kennard (1995) 84 A Crim R 333.
The test of indecency is whether right minded persons would consider the act to be contrary to community standards of decency: Harkin, McIntosh (1994) PD . Where the part of the body that has been touched has no sexual connotation (not genitalia or breasts) there must be evidence of an indecent intention: Harkin (1989) 38 A Crim R 296.
Act of Indecency.
The maximum penalty for act of indecency is 18 months if the victim is 16 or over, and 2 years if the victim is under 16: s. 61N. An act of indecency does not include indecent assault or sexual assault: Saraswati v The Queen (1991) 172 CLR 1, 54 A Crim R 183. A charge alleging that the accused did an act of indecency 'with or towards' the complainant was held bad for duplicity: Orsos (1997) 95 A Crim R 457. In determining whether or not the act is 'indecent', the context and in particular the intention of the accused can be taken into account: DPP v Eades  NSWSC 1352.
Sexual Intercourse with Minors
A person who has sexual intercourse with a child under 10 is liable for life imprisonment (s. 66A). For offences committed after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 15 years.
A person who has sexual intercourse with a child between 10 and 14 is liable for 16 years imprisonment (s. 66C (1)). However if the offence is committed in circumstances of aggravation (including being under authority), the penalty is 20 years (s. 66C (2)).
A person who has sexual intercourse with a child between the age of 14 and 16 is liable to a penalty of 10 years (s. 66C (3)). If the offence is committed in circumstances of aggravation, the penalty is 12 years (s. 66C (4)).
'Circumstances of aggravation' are as discussed under 'Aggravated Sexual Assault' discussed above (with the omission of being under the age of 16, and the addition of taking advantage of the victim being under the influence of alcohol or drugs).
Where a person has a sexual intercourse with a child between 16 and 17 and under his/her 'special care', the person is liable to 8 years imprisonment. If the child is between the age of 17 and 18, the maximum penalty is 4 years (s. 73 Crimes Act). A person is in a relationship of 'special care' with a person if he/she is the person's step-parent, guardian, foster parent, teacher, coach, prison officer or health professional of the child (s. 73 Crimes Act). The 'special care' relationship must exist at the time of the alleged offences; thus, a teacher who had taught a complainant some time before tha alleged offences will not be guilty of this offence even if he is still a teacher at the complainant's school when the sexual intercourse takes place: Regina v PJ  NSWCCA 290 esp at para .
This may not
apply where a de facto has sexual intercourse with his de facto's daughter: Miller (2001) 127 A Crim R 344. However it appears that 'foster parent' includes someone who is in a de facto relationship with the mother of a complainant: JAD v Regina  NSWCCA 73.
Consent is no defence for these offences (s. 77).
The former statutory defence of mistake as to age when a child is between the ages of 14 and 16 (s. 77) was abolished. However the High Court held in CTM v Regina  HCA 25 that the defence of honest and reasonable mistake about the age of the complainant was still available as a defence.
Persistent Sexual Abuse
Where a person commits a sexual offence on 3 occasions with the one child on separate days, the offender is guilty of an offence under s. 66EA Crimes Act, which carries 25 years.
Having carnal knowledge with a parent, grandparent, sibling child or grandchild is incest. The penalty is 8 years (s. 78A). The prosecution must be sanctioned by the Attorney General (s. 78F).
For most purposes, in 2003 homosexual intercourse was put in the same legal position as heterosexual intercourse. Homosexual intercourse between adults is not illegal in NSW.
For offences involving sexual intercourse with males under 16, see 'Sexual Intercourse with Minors' above.
Production, dissemination, or possession of child abuse material
It is an offence carrying 10 years imprisonment to produce or disseminate child pornography (s. 91H( 2) Crimes Act).
It is an offence carrying 5 years imprisonment to possess child pornography (s. 91H (3) Crimes Act).
'Child' is defined as a person under the age of 16 (s. 91FA)
'Child abuse material' is defined in s. 91FB as material that depicts or describes in a way that a reasonable person would regard as offensive:
(a) a person who is, appears to be or is implied to be, a child as a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse, or
(b) a person who is, appears to be or is implied to be, a child engaged in or apparently engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity (whether or not in the presence of other persons), or
(c) a person who is, appears to be or is implied to be, a child in the presence of another person who is engaged or apparently engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity, or
(d) the private parts of a person who is, appears to be or is implied to be, a child.
'Private parts' of a person are defined to be the genitalia, or anus of a person, or the breasts of a female person (s. 91FB (4). The term 'breasts of a female person' has been held not to include the chest of a pre-pubescent girl: Turner v Regina  NSWCCA 304 esp at para .
The matters which are to be taken into account in determining whether or not a rasonable person would regard the material as offensive include (s. 91FB (2)):
(a) the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults, and
(b) the literary, artistic or educational merit (if any) of the material, and
(c) the journalistic merit (if any) of the material, being the merit of the material as a record or report of a matter of public interest, and
(d) the general character of the material (including whether it is of a medical, legal or scientific character).
It has been held that where material was found on an accused's hard drive which had been deleted but could still be retrieved, the Crown could not without more establish that the accused knew that the material was in his possession and the appeal had to be quashed: Clark v Regina (2008) 185 A Crim R 1 .
Offences which straddle a date where the maximum penalty was increased
Where the allegaton is that an offence occurred sometime during a particular period, and during that time the maximum penalty was increased, and the prosecution cannot prove whether the offence occurred before or after the increase in the maximum penalty, the offender is to be sentenced according to the lower maximum penalty: Regina v MAJW (2007) 171 A Crim R 407.
Lack of or Delay in Complaint.
Where it is suggested that the victim delayed complaining or did not complain the judge must tell the jury that a delay in or absence of complaint does not necessarily mean that the allegation is false, and that there may be very good reasons why a victim might so act: s. 294 Criminal Procedure Act. The judge should not identify possible but unexpressed reasons why no complaint had been made: Williams (1999) 104 A Crim R 260.
Section 294 does not mean that judges should not tell juries that they can take into account delay in making a complaint: (Crofts v The Queen (1996) 186 CLR 427, 88 A Crim R 232) and as a general rule such a direction should be given: DJK (1997) 96 A Crim R 443, Harvey (NSW CCA 9/4/98), JTS (1998) 5 Crim LN , M (1997) 99 A Crim R 464 (Vic C of A). However this direction only needs to be given if:
(1) the delay is significant, and
(2) the accused has suffered a significant forensic disadvantage caused by the delay, other than the mere passage of time (s. 294 ).
Judges should also tell the jury the delay in complaint makes it difficult for the accused to defend himself, referring to any specific difficulties: Harvey, Johnston (1998) 45 NSWLR 362. The direction should refer to the fact that (1) the delay made it harder for the accused to defend the Crown case, referring to specific difficulties in the case, and (2) as a result there was a need to consider the Crown case with additional care or caution: Johnston. For a detailed summary of the necessary directions on delay in complaint, see Chapter 16 in the Evidence Section.
Victims of Sexual Offences.
There is no longer a rule that the evidence of victims of sexual assault and indecent assault must be corroborated.
If the sole witness corroborating the Crown case is the complainant a traditional direction is that the jury should consider the evidence of the complainant with great care (Murray (1987) 11 NSWLR 12). The Murray direction should still be given after the Evidence Act: Vawdrey (1998) 100 A Crim R 488.
Under s. 294AA of the Criminal Procedure Act a judge is prohibited from warning a jury that complainants as a class are unreliable, and from warning a jury of the danger of convicting on the uncorroborated evidence of a complainant. Although this provision appears to have been intended to do away with the Murray direction, arguably it has not done so.
Victims of Sexual Assault: Delay in Complaint
At common law where there was a lengthy delay in complaint it was necessary to direct the jury that it would be dangerous to convict unless the jury having scrutinised the evidence with great care was satisfied of its truth and accuracy. This direction was called the 'Longman' direction: Longman v The Queen (1989) 168 CLR 179, 43 A Crim R 463 at 471.
However the issues of when the direction is required, and the content of the direction, have been modified by statute. The direction is only to be given if there is sufficient evidence to justify such a warning (s. 165B Evidence Act). If a judge in a sexual assault trial is satisfied that
(a) there is a delay in complaint and
(b) the person on trial has suffered a significant forensic disadvantage because of the delay
the judge may inform the jury (if one of the parties requests) the nature of the disadvantage and the need to take that disadvantage into account in determining whether or not to accept the evidence (s. 165B Evidence Act).
As to what is a 'significant' delay' the cases on the meaning of a long delay will be of assistance. In Longman the delay was 20 years. In Doggett v The Queen (2001) 208 CLR 343 the High Court said that there should have been a Longman direction in a case where there was a delay of 12 years. However in Dyers v The Queen (2002) 210 CLR 285 it seems 3 High Court judges (Kirby at para , McHugh at  and Callinan at  to ) did not think that there had to be a Longman direction in a case where there was a delay of 5 years. In WSP  NSWCCA 427 it was suggested it may not be necessary to warn the jury that it may be dangerous to convict on that evidence if the delay is not 20 years but for example is 4 years (at para ). At the other end of the spectrum of delay, in a case where there was a delay of complaint of about 6 months, it was held that there was no need to give a Longman direction: MDB  NSWCCA 354.
The direction is only to be given if the judge is satisfied that the accused has suffered a significant forensic disadvantage caused by the delay: s. 165B (2) Evidence Act. The death of or inability to find potential witnesses and evidence are given as examples in a non-exhaustive list (s. 165B (7) ). The mere passage of time is not of itself to be regarded as a forensic disadvantage: s. 165B (6). This overturns the common law position, in which it was presumed that the accused had sufferred a detriment, even though no specific detriment could be identified: BWT (2002) 54 NSWLR 241, 129 A Crim R 153 especially at paras  to .
The direction should be given even when there is corroboration of the complainant: Doggett v The Queen (2001) 208 CLR 343.
Content of the Longman direction
As discussed immediately above, at common law the 'Longman' direction was that where there was a lengthy delay in complaint it was necessary to direct the jury that it would be dangerous to convict unless the jury having scrutinised the evidence with great care was satisfied of its truth and accuracy: Longman v The Queen (1989) 168 CLR 179, 43 A Crim R 463 at 471.
Section 165B (4) of the Evidence Act prohibits a direction that it would be dangerous or unsafe to convict the accused solely because of delay in complaint or the forensic disadvantages suffered as a result of the delay.
If the judge on application of any party is satisfied that the accused has suffered a significant forensic disadvantage because of the consequences of delay, the court must inform the jury:
It may be that the directions should still include a direction to scrutinise the evidence of the complainant with great care. It was assumed that such a direction should be given in TJ v Regina  NSWCCA 257.
The jury should be told of any difficulties caused by the delay to the defence: Johnston (1998) 45 NSWLR 362, Crampton v The Queen (2000) 206 CLR 161.
If a Longman direction is given, the direction should not refer to difficulties suffered by both the Crown and the accused because of the delay. It should only refer to difficulties suffered by the accused: Folli  NSWCCA 531 esp at para , Erohin  NSWCCA 102 at para .
Multiple Victims and Multiple Counts
Where there are a number of counts, the jury is usually directed that each count must be considered separately. However where there is no evidence in the Crown case apart from the complainant's evidence, the jury should generally be told that if they find the accused is not guilty on one count, that must be taken into account in assessing the truthfulness of the complainant generally: Markuleski (2001) 52 NSWLR 82. There is no universal requirement that the jury be given a 'propensity direction'; that is, a direction that if the jury found the accused guilty of one of the offences charged, it could not use that finding to reason that he was the sort of person likely to commit the another of the offences: KRM v The Queen (2001) 75 ALJR 550.
Where there are multiple complainants each alleging separate
assaults, the jury must be directed that the evidence of one complainant could not
be used towards proof of an offence against another complainant: Mayberry  NSWCCA 531 especially
at paras  to , KRM v The Queen (2001) 75 ALJR 550 at para 38 (per McHugh J). It should be noted that generally if there are multiple
complainants there should be separate trials unlessthe other charges are admissible as tendency or coincidence fact evidence: De Jesus v The Queen (1986) 68 ALR 1, Sutton v The Queen (1984) 152 CLR 528 (per Brennan J.).
Previous Sexual Experience.
Evidence of the sexual experience or lack of experience of the victim is inadmissible in a prescribed sexual offence (defined in s. 3 Criminal Procedure Act) unless the probative value outweighs the distress etc to the victim and it comes within one of the following fact situations (s. 293 Criminal Procedure Act ) :
AND the probative value outweighs the complainant's distress etc. See White (1989) 46 A Crim R 251.
Generally evidence of the complainant consenting to sexual activity with a person other than the accused will not be admissible: Regina v Burton  NSWCCA 335 esp at para . However evidence of a 'set of circumstances' ( s. 293 (4) (a)) may include intercourse with another person an hour later: Morgan (1993) 67 A Crim R 526. 'Relationship' in this context (s. 293 (4) (b) ) has been held to mean 'an emotional connection between people sometimes involving sexual relations': White (1989) 18 NSWLR 332. It may include intercourse between the parties a few weeks after the incident: Regina v Warner (NSWCCA unreported 7/5/1997), Taylor v Regina  NSWCCA 180.
The reference in s. 293 (4) (c) to 'injury, disease' is not limited to injury to genitalia, and this provision should be construed broadly- see Dimian (1995) 83 A Crim R 358. If the defence case is that sexual intercourse occured but it was consensual, the exception under s. 294 (4) (c) does not apply: Taleb v Regina  NSWCCA 105 esp at para .
The prosecution has not 'disclosed' the complainant's sexual history or lack of sexual history merely by the prosecution serving material on the accused recording that the complainant was a virgin: Spratt v DPP  NSWSC 355.
The applicant should set out in writing the areas he wishes to question on, but not the specific questions: Dimian (1995) 83 A Crim R 358, Taylor v Regina  NSWCCA 180 esp at paras  to .
If the accused is charged with one prescribed sexual offence and one offence which is not a prescribed sexual offence, s. 293 Criminal Procedure Act still appears to apply: ARS (CCA unreported 25/9/97).
The provision appears to preclude cross-examination about previous false complaints: M (1993) 67 A Crim R 549, Bernthaler (1994) PD . The provision will not justify a stay of proceedings: PJE (CCA u/r 9/10/95). It will not be sufficient to make the verdict unsafe and unsatisfactory: but see HG v The Queen (1999) 197 CLR 414, overruling Morgan 67 A Crim R 526. To the same effect see Allan v Regina  NSWCCA 6 esp at para .
S. 293 Criminal Procedure Act also prohibits evidence of non-consensual sexual activity of the complainant: HG (1999) 197 CLR 414.
The complainant's evidence
A complainant in a prescribed sexual offence is entitled to give evidence by closed circuit television or shielded from the accused and from anyone else in the court room by use of screens: s. 294B Criminal Procedure Act.
Cross-Examination of a Complainant by an Unrepresented
Section 294A Criminal Procedure Act prohibits an unrepresented accused from cross-examining a complainant in a sexual offence. However, in such a court situation, the court must appoint someone to ask the complainant the questions that the unrepresented person requests. A challenge to the constitutional validity of this legislation was rejected in MSK and MAK (2004) 61 NSWLR 204, 148 A Crim R 453.
The representative of the accused should be present for the evidence in chief of the complainant and the proposed questions of the complainant should not have to be submitted to the judge before the evidence in chief of the complainant is given: Clark v Regina  NSWCCA 122.
Medical Evidence that it is probable that the complainant had been sexually assaulted
A doctor's opinion that, in light of the complainant's history and the doctor's examination, it was probable that the complainant had been sexually assaulted, is inadmissible: Davis  NSWCCA 298 esp at paras  to .
Time on the Indictment
Late amendment of the date on the indictment can be fatal for the Crown case: Westerman (1991) 55 A Crim R 353. The date of the offence is not normally an element of the offence, but is a matter of particulars: VHP (NSW CCA 7/7/97), Kennedy (2000) 118 A Crim R 34. However, in a particular case, the date of the offence can achieve importance by indicating that the offence is not maintainable at law or is bad for duplicity: Greenaway (2001) 118 A Crim R 299.
7/. Drug and People Smuggling Offences
Under the Commonwealth Criminal Code it is an offence to
Elements of Importing the Commercial Quantity of a Border Controlled Drug/Plants
For the Crown to establish that an accused is guilty of the offence of importing the commercial quantity of a border controlled drug or plants, the Crown must establish:
Similarly for the offence of import the marketable quantity.
As to the mens rea for these offences, see below.
Meaning of 'import'
The word 'import' has been interpreted as meaning requiring proof that the border controlled goods arrived in Australia from abroad and were delivered to a point which would result in the goods remaining in Australia. It was held to be necessary that the Crown proves that the accused had the relevant mens rea at the time the goods were imported: Campbell v Regina (2008) 73 NSWLR 272, 188 A Crim R 1 .
Subsequently, s. 300 was amended to include dealing 'with the substance in connection with its importation'. It has been held that 'dealing' includes physical acts such as concealing or transporting the goods, as well as legal processes such as sale: El-Haddad v Regina  NSWCCA 10.
Mens Rea of Importation: Offences Committed after 28 September 2004
For offences committed after 28 September 2004, and for offences allegedly committed before the Code was introduced the following applies.
In a charge of importation there must be proof of intention to import, so there must be knowledge of the existence of the drugs: He Kaw Teh v The Queen (1985) 157 CLR 523. Under the Commonwealth Criminal Code, the fault element for knowledge that the substance imported was a prohibited drug or plant is recklessness. Intention to import narcotics can be inferred from awareness that the thing being imported contains narcotic goods.
It is sufficient if the Crown establishes that the accused was aware that it is likely that the thing being imported was narcotic goods: Kural v The Queen (1987) 162 CLR 502, Tomasevic (1990) 51 A Crim R 72, Chi Thanh Cao v Regina (2006) 65 NSWLR, 172 A Crim R 1 esp at para . The jury should not be directed in terms of wilful blindness: Zakaria (1992) 62 A Crim R 259. It has been held that it is sufficient to establish the mens reas if the prosecution establishes that the accused realised that there was a 'real or significant chance' that the packages he was importing were prohibited drugs: Smith v Regina  NSWCCA 93 esp at paras  to , and Smith v The Queen; The Queen v Afford  HCA 19 esp at paras  to .
In Smith v The Queen; The Queen v Afford  HCA 19, the High Court suggested that the following directions be given in an importation case where the fact that prohibited drugs were imported was not in dispute (at para ):
(1) The accused is charged with importing a border controlled drug. Importing something into Australia means bringing that thing into Australia.
(2) What is in dispute is whether the accused intended to import the substance and whether he or she knew, or was reckless as to whether, the substance was a border controlled drug.
(3) The accused cannot be convicted of importing a border controlled drug unless it is established beyond reasonable doubt that:
(i) he or she intended to import a substance; and
(ii) he or she knew, or was reckless as to whether, the substance was a border controlled drug.
(4) Each of those mental elements must be considered separately.
(5) The accused cannot be regarded as having intended to do something unless it is established beyond reasonable doubt that he or she meant to do that thing.
(6) To decide whether the accused meant to bring the substance into Australia, it is permissible to draw an inference as to the accused's state of mind at the time of bringing the substance into Australia.
(7) In order to draw an inference of intent, it is necessary to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of the facts and circumstances from which the inference of intent is drawn and that the inference of intent is the only reasonable inference open to be drawn from those facts and circumstances.
(8) Where, as here, the accused brought into Australia a case, object or other thing ("the container") which has a substance in it, and it is open to infer that the accused meant to bring the container into Australia, it is open to infer that the accused meant to bring the substance into Australia if, at the time of bringing the container into Australia:
(i) the accused knew that the substance was in the container; or
(ii) the accused knew or believed there was a real or significant chance that the substance was in the container.
(9) It is not necessary that the accused knew or had a belief as to where, or in what fashion, or in what form, the substance existed or was secreted in the container. It is enough if the accused knew or believed there was a real or significant chance that the substance was somehow, somewhere, in some form within the container.
(10) It must be stressed once again, however, that it is not permissible to draw an inference that the accused meant to bring the substance into Australia unless that is the only inference reasonably open on the established facts and circumstances of the case.
(11) If it is established beyond reasonable doubt that the accused meant to bring the substance into Australia, it will then be necessary to decide whether the accused knew, or was reckless as to whether, the substance was a border controlled drug.
(12) The accused cannot be taken to have been reckless as to whether the substance was a border controlled drug unless it is established beyond reasonable doubt that:
(i) the accused was aware of a substantial risk that the substance was a border controlled drug; and
(ii) having regard to the circumstances which were known to the accused, it was unjustifiable for him or her to take the risk.
In importation matters, the element that the substance being imported was of the marketable or commercial quantity is a matter of absolute liability. The Crown is not required to prove that the accused knew the amount being imported: Cheng v The Queen (2000) 203 CLR 248, Keung v Regina (2008) 191 A Crim R 317 .
Mens Rea of Importation: Offences before 28 September 2004
It has been held that it is a misdirection to tell a jury that awareness that there was a substantial risk that the contained narcotic goods is sufficient to establish intention: Regina v Saengsai-Or (2004) 61 NSWLR 135, 147 A Crim R 172 at para . However, the judge may direct the jury that the intention to import can be established by an inference that the accused was aware of the likelihood that the container narcotic goods: Saengsai-Or (2004) 61 NSWLR 135 at para .
Conspiracy to import
As to the elements of conspiracy to import, see Cranney v Regina  NSWCCA 234 esp at paras  to .
Penalties Under the Commonwealth Act.
There are alternative penalties:
Schedule of Penalties for Importing Particular Drugs
Under the Criminal Code, there is a table of penalties for offences under varying according to the type of drug. The complete schedule can be found in schedule 3. The relevant quantities for commonly imported drugs are set out in this table:
|Amphetamine||2 g||250 g||750 g|
|Cannabis||250 g||25 kg||125 kg|
|Cannabis Resin||20 g||25 kg||125 kg|
|Cocaine||2 g||250 g||2 kg|
|Heroin||2 g||250 g||1.5 kg|
|LSD||.002 g||.05 g||.002 kg|
|Ecstasy||.5 g||100 g||.5 kg|
Knowingly Concerned in Importation.
To be convicted of 'knowingly concerned' it is necessary to establish proof of some act or conduct prior to or during the act of importation, some practical connection, not just mere knowledge or inaction: Tannous (1987) 10 NSWLR 303, Marcell (1993) PD . There must be knowledge of the essential elements of the principal offence: Edwards (1992) 62 A Crim R 100. You can be 'knowingly concerned' by conduct after the importation is complete: Leff (1996) 86 A Crim R 212.
The Migration Act makes it an offence to organise or facilitate the bringing or coming of a person, or the entry or proposed entry of a person into Australi, where the person is a non-citizen, and the person has no right to come to Australia: s. 233A Migration Act. Aggravated forms of the offence exist where the smuggler exposes the non-citizen to the risk of death or serious harm (s. 233B), or where at least 5 people are being smuggled (s. 233C).
The maximum penalty for an offence under s. 233A is 10 years imprisonment, and the maximum penalty for an offence under s. 233B or s. 233C is 20 years imprisonment. However, where there is an offence under s. 233B there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 8 years with a non-parole period of 5 years, and where there is an offence under s. 233C there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 8 years with a non-parole period of 5 years for a first offence, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 8 years with a non-parole period of 5 years for a subsequent offence: s. 236B.
It is an element of the offence that the accused knew that the island to which the accused was taking the non-citizens was part of Australia: Alomalu v Regina  NSWCCA 225 esp at para .
Possession of Minute Amounts.
Possession of minute amounts of a drug does not constitute possession: Williams v The Queen (1978) 140 CLR 591.
The Physical Aspect of Possession.
The physical aspect of possession is exclusive physical control: DPP v Brooks (1974) 2 WLR 899. Holding for a short time for the purposes of concealment is still possession: Todd (1977) 6 A Crim R 105.
The Mens Rea of Possession.
It is necessary for the prosecution to prove knowledge of the existence of the drug: He Kaw Teh v The Queen (1985) 157 CLR 523, 59 ALJR 620. Proof of the belief that the drugs were present will suffice: Kural. If a person forgets that he has the drugs in his possession he can still be convicted: Martindale  Crim LJ 737, Kennedy (1998) 100 A Crim R 377. Possession does not require proof that the defendantknew precisely where the item was or that he knows that it is in his bag at the relevant time: DPP v Fairbanks  NSWSC 150.
The Shared House.
Mere knowledge of the existence of the drugs, their location in the premises, and sanction of them being there does not amount to possession: Hinton (1978) PSR 1749.In a shared house situation the mere finding of the drugs will not amount to possession unless the possibility of sole possession by others is excluded: Fillipetti (1984) 13 A Crim R 335, Burns (19/8/88 CCA), Bazley (23/3/89) and Dib (1991) 52 A Crim R 65.These common law principles now have to be read subject to the specific statutory provisions relating top 'drug premises' (as to which see immediately below).
It is an offence to be found on or entering or leaving 'drug premises'. There is a defence if the accused satisfies the court that he/she had a lawful purpose or lawful excuse. The maximum penalty for the first offence is a fine of $550 and 12 months imprisonment, for subsequent offences the maximum penalty is $5500 and 5 years imprisonment: s. 36X Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act. Similarly it is an offence for an owner or occupier of premises to knowingly allow premises to be used as drug premises, penalty $5500 and 12 months for the first offence, and $55, 000 and 5 years for subsequent offences: s. 36Y DM and T Act. The same penalties apply for organising or conducting, or assisting in organising or conducting, drug premises. This offence includes acting as a look-out, door attendant or guard: s. 36Z DM and T Act.
For all of these offences the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the premises are 'drug premises': (s. 36W DM and T Act). That requires the court to be satisfied that at the relevant time the premises were being used for the manufacture or supply of a prohibited drug: (s. 36W DM and T Act). It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the accused had a prohibited drug in his possession or that there was a prohibited drug in the premises: s. 36V DM and T Act. In order to determine whether the premises are 'drug premises', the court can take into account:
(s. 36W DM and T Act). 'Premises' is defined widely in s. 3 and appears to include motor vehicles.
Where drugs are found in a car, a passenger cannot be convicted of possession without further evidence: Harris  Crim LJ 256, Lester & Byast (1955) 39 Cr App R 157. Where the owner of a car has the drugs locked in the boot but he does not have the keys, prima facie he does not have exclusive physical control: Barron v Valdamis  ACLD 374. Mere possession of the keys to a car does not of itself prove knowledge of the contents of the car, especially if others have access to the car: Amanatidis (2001) 125 A Crim R 89. Someone in a car from which drugs are being sold may be charged with being in drug premises as to which see the paragraph immediately above.
Where a person hides drugs so effectively he can take it into his custody and others are unlikely to find them, they are in his possession: Delon (1992) 29 NSWLR 29.
Possession of an Implement.
It is an offence to have in your possession an implement for the administration of a prohibited drug. There is an exemption for hypodermic syringes: s. 11 Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act. It is necessary to show that the person possessed the utensils for future use: Erickson v Pittard  2 NSWLR 528.
Penalty: $2200 or 2 years
It is an offence to administer drugs to your self or to another person: ss. 12 and 13.
Penalty: $2200 or 2 years
The courts can take into account street expressions for drugs such as 'grass' (Ringstaad v Butler  1 NSWLR 754) but not 'speed' (Woodward v Wallace NSW SC Cantor J 23/4/85). However the admissions only become admissible of what the drugs were if the maker has personal knowledge or expertise: Ringstaad v Butler, Brady  7 PSR 2199.
It is an offence to cultivate indian hemp: s. 23. Watering plants with the intention of keeping the plants alive is cultivation: Eager v Smith (1988) 38 A Crim R 272.
Where the accused is charged with cultivating a particular quantity of plants (for example the commercial quantity), the Crown must establish that the crop contained the relevant number of plants, not the number of plants which were tendered: Mouroufas v Regina  NSWCCA 58.
A number of separate sites can be the subject of a single charge of supply the commercial
quantity: Regina v Whalen and Willer (2002-3) 56 NSWLR 454.
It is an offence to supply or take part in the actual supply of a prohibited drug: s. 25. If the defendant merely asks someone to obtain a drug and supply it to him he has not caused the person to supply: Castle v Olen  3 NSWLR 26. However it seems this can constitute incitement to supply: Regina v Eade (2002) 131 A Crim R 390.
The relevant intention is an intentional making of an offer with the intention that it would be regarded by the offeree as genuine, so a 'rip-off' may constitute supply: Dendic (1987) 34 A Crim R 40, Addison (1993) 70 A Crim R 213. However this does not mean that the sentencing principles applicable to drug dealers are relevant: Kalpaxis  NSWCCA 119.
Supply includes buying a drug with pooled money and splitting the result: Buckley  Crim LR 665. Supply includes causing a package to be forwarded to another person by a mail delivery system, even if the drugs end up being delivered by undercover police: Pinkstone v The Queen (2004) 219 CLR 444.
Under the extended definition of supply, 'suffering or permitting' a supply is included. This appears to include a failure of a police officer to intervene knowing that a supply is likely to occur: Jasper (2003) 139 A Crim R 329.
Does supply include sharing a joint? The cases go either way: King  Crim LR 228, Moore  Crim LR 789.
A number of supplies can be included in one count: Hamzy (1994) 74 A Crim R 341, F (1996) 90 A Crim R 356, Deng (1996) 91 A Crim R 80, and Jacobs (1997) 94 A Crim R 15, but see Walsh v Tattersall (1996) 188 CLR 77, 88 A Crim R 496.
For offences of supply of the commercial quantity of a drug (not cannabis) committed after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 10 years. For the large commercial quantity, the 'standard non-parole period' is 15 years.
Giving drugs to someone to hold for you is not supplying (Maginnis  2 WLR 765) nor is the holder giving the drugs back to you: Carey (1990) 50 A Crim R 163, (1991) 55 A Crim R 120, Tuckey (1991) 57 A Crim R 468, Pelham (1995) 82 A Crim R 455. Where the defence is that the defendant is simply holding the drugs for someone else, the jury should be specifically directed that this is a defence at law: Regina v Frazer (2002) 128 A Crim R 89. However holding the goods of the true owner as leverage to get money from him is supply, if the true owner has not given them to you: Regina v Asim (1997) 92 A Crim R 97. Holding drugs for someone else, which you then give to someone else, is supply: Blair (2005) 152 A Crim R 462.
Possession for the Purpose of Supply.
You can't be convicted both of possession and supply in the sense of possession for the purpose of supply: Dodd and Dodd (1991) 56 A Crim R 451.
A person who has in his possession the trafficable quantity of a drug is deemed to have it in possession for the purpose of supply unless he proves the contrary: s. 29. The burden of proof is on the balance of probabilities: R v R (no. 2) (1990) 19 NSWLR 573. Possession for the purpose of disposing of the substance is not possession for the purpose of supply: Orban (CCA 5/7/84 ). The provision only applies to someone actually in possession of the drug, not to someone attempting to or conspiring to possess: Krakouer v The Queen (1998) 194 CLR 202.
Evidence of possession of money is relevant: Popa (1991) 53 A Crim R 102, McGhee (1993) 68 A Crim R 220, Sultana (1994) 74 A Crim R 27 but see Lewis (1989) 46 A Crim R 365. Evidence of customers ringing may be inadmissible: Kearby (House of Lords 66 ALJ 468), Omar (1992) 58 A Crim R 139, but see Firman (1989) 46 A Crim R 150, Al Khair (1994) PD , Sokvari (1995) PD . Possession of plastic bags, pistols and scales is admissible: Edwards (1993) 67 A Crim R 539, Sultana. It has been held that possession of bullets, even without guns, is admissible: Radi v Regina  NSWCCA 265.
Police can give evidence that conversations could be referring to drugs, but not that they do so refer: David (1995) [PD] 351.
Aid and Abet Supply.
The deeming provision does not apply to aid and abet supply. There must be proof of actual knowledge: Davis v The Queen (1991) 66 ALJR 22.
Supply on An Ongoing Basis
A person who supplies on 3 or more occasions within 30 days a prohibited drug (other than cannabis) for financial or material reward is guilty of supplying drugs on an ongoing basis and faces a penalty of 20 years: s. 25A Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act. It is necessary for the prosecution to establish that the accused himself receives the financial or material reward, not simply financial or material reward to another person: Jackson  NSWCCA 110, White v Regina  NSWCCA 329.
When a substance is represented as being as drug for the purpose of supply it will be deemed to be a drug: s. 40. There must be an actual substance represented as the drug for the section to operate: Miller v Page 6 PSR 2854.
Quantity of Drugs.
Where the accused is charged with eg cultivating or supplying more than a specified quantity of the drug (eg the commercial quantity), the Crown must prove that the accused knew that the relevant amount of drugs was involved: CWW (1993) 70 A Crim R 517. It appears that it is sufficient if the jury is aware that the accused believed that there was a significant or real chance that the drugs contained the commercial quantity: Lau (1998) 105 A Crim R 167.
Under state legislation a reference to a drug is deemed to include an 'admixture', so the impure quantity is what is relevant to the quantity of the drugs: s. 4 DMT Act. This does not apply if say the heroin is not mixed in with other white powder (Regina v Asim (1997) 92 A Crim R 97 at 100). It does apply to cardboard impregnated with LSD: Finch v Regina  NSWCCA 133 esp at para .
An analysts certificate is prima facie evidence of the quantity of the drug: s.43. The drug must be traced from hand to hand from the police who seize the drug to the analyst for the certificate to be admissible: Young v Commissioner of Railways  SR NSW 647, Barron v Valdamis  ACLD 374. It may be a matter of fact for the jury: Reynolds (1992) PD . The onus of proving that the resin has been extracted is on the defence: s. 40A.
Conspiracy to Supply.
It is actual supply rather than conspiracy to supply for A and B to agree for A to supply B (Chow 1987 11 NSWLR 561), or A and B to supply C (Trudgeon (1988) 39 A Crim R 252).
It is an offence to take part in the manufacture or production of a prohibited drug: s. 24. This is defined as taking part in or participating in any step in the manufacture of a prohibited drug, or providing finance or premises for such a step: s.6. It appears not to include transporting and acquiring chemicals or equipment: Regina v BD  NSWCCA 184, Regina v Spicer (2003) 139 A Crim R 206 . It appears not to include a situation where the accused intends to take a step in the manufacture of chemicals but in fact the chemicals he has are incapable of making a drug: Regina v McCoy (2001) 51 NSWLR 702, 123 A Crim R 81, but see Regina v El Azzi (2001) 125 A Crim R 113. Extracting cocaine from paper comes within the definition of manufacture because the statutory definition includes 'extracting or refining the prohibited drug': Bucic  NSWCCA 297 esp at para para .
Where the drug produced is not cannabis, the amount is the commercial quantity, and the offender is arrested after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 10 years: Table of Standard Non-Parole Periods, Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
It has been held that it is necessary for the Crown to prove that the accused knew that what was being produced was a prohibited drug, not merely a precursor: Siafakis v Regina  NSWCCA 100 esp at para .
Where the drug produced, cultivated or supplied is cannabis, there is a standard non-parole period of 10 years: Table of Standard Non-Parole Periods, Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
|Indictable Quantity||Commercial Quantity||Large Commercial Quantity|
|Amphetamine||1 g||3 g||5 g||250 g||1 kg|
|-Plant cultivated by enhanced indoor means||5||-||50||50||200|
|30 g||300 g||1 kg||25 kg||100 kg|
|5 g||30 g||90 g||2.5 kg||10 kg|
|2 g||5 g||10 g||500 g||2 kg|
|Cocaine||1 g||3 g||5 g||250 g||1 kg|
|Heroin||1 g||3 g||5 g||250 g||1 kg|
|Ecstasy||.25 g||.75 g||1.25 g||125 g||.5 kg|
|LSD||4 DDU||15 DDU||25 DDU||.5 g||2 g|
See Schedule 1 to Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act.
If under this amount, can be dealt with summarily without consent
Maximum penalty: 2 years, $5500.
If the person being supplied to is under 16 the penalty is increased to 2 years 6 months.
If there is any more than the traffickable quantity, the deemed supply provisions apply (s. 29). The maximum penalty in the Local Court is $11,000 and 2 years.
Indictable Quantity, under Commercial Quantity:
under this amount, can be dealt with in the Local Court unless the prosecution or
defence elects otherwise.
Maximum penalty summarily: 2 years, $11 000. If the person being supplied to is under 16 the penalty is increased to 2 years 6 months.
If dealt with indictably:
Cannabis Plant or Leaf: $220 000, 10 years
Otherwise: $220 000, 15 years
If the person being supplied to is under 16 the penalty
is increased to 25 years. If there are 3 supplies of any drug other than cannabis
in a period of less than 30 days, s. 25A applies, and the maximum penalty becomes
More Than Commercial Quantity
Cannabis Plant or Leaf: $385 000, 15 years
Otherwise: $385 000, 20 years.
If the person being supplied to is under 16 the penalty is increased by a fifth.
Over Large Commercial Quantity
Cannabis Plant or Leaf: $550 000, 20 years
Otherwise: $550 000, life.
If the person being supplied to is under 16 the penalty is increased by a fifth.
8/. Public Order Offences.
Public place is defined in the Summary Offences Act as any place or part of premises open to the public or used by the public whether or not it is normally so used, whether or not it is open only to a limited class of persons. It does not include a school: s. 3. It does not exclude private property or property where the defendant has no right to go: Camp  1 NSWLR 452.
Drunkenness is no longer a crime. Under s. 206 Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act a person who is found intoxicated in a public place and either behaving in a disorderly manner or in a way likely to cause injury to person or property can be detained until he sobers up.
It is still an offence to habitually consort with people convicted of indictable offences after being given an official warning : s. 93X Crimes Act.
Loitering with Intent.
It is an offence to be found near any premises or in a public place with intent to commit an indictable offence: s. 546B. It is not necessary to prove an intention to commit any particular felony: Harrison v Hegarty  VR 362.
Police Powers to Move People on
If a police officer believes on reasonable grounds that a person's behaviour
the officer can give the person a direction (typically, to move on): s. 197 Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act. It is an offence to fail to comply (maximum penalty, 2 penalty units or $220). See s. 199 LE (PAR) Act.
Possession of Knives
It is an offence to have in your custody a knife in a public
place or school without reasonable excuse, proof of which is on the defendant. The
penalty is 5 penalty units for a first offence, and for subsequent offences 20 penalty
units and/or 2 years imprisonment (s. 11C Summary Offences Act). Self
defence is specifically defined not to be a reasonable excuse.
(b) offensive conduct
Offensive Language or Conduct.
It is an offence to engage in offensive conduct in, near or within view of a public place or school, penalty $600 or 3 months gaol: s. 4 . Offensive language now carries a maximum penalty of 6 penalty units: 4A Summary Offences Act. The word 'fuck' is not of itself necessarily offensive: Hortin v Rowbottom (1993) 68 A Crim R 381. Urinating in the street can constitute offensive conduct: State of NSW v Beck  NSWCA 437 at para .
Offensive conduct must involve an intention to an offend, which seems to mean doing an act with knowledge that the activity could at least offend: Pregelj and Wurramurra v Manison (1988) 31 A Crim R 383, Stone v Ford (1992) 65 A Crim R 459. Thus intoxication is a defence to offensive conduct: Jeffs v Graham (1987) 8 NSWLR 292.
Offensive seems to mean something that would wound the feelings or arouse disgust or outrage in a reasonable man: Ball v McIntyre (1966) 9 FLR 237, Smith  2 NSWLR 586. The reasonable man is reasonably tolerant and contemporaneous: Spence v Loguch (CN ).
Evidence of By-Stander Police Officers.
The evidence of bystanders that they were offended is relevant but not necessary, although it getting a conviction without it may be difficult. The fact that the bystanders were police officers only goes to weight: Connolly v Willis  1 NSWLR 378. There is no need to prove any person actually heard it: Stutsel v Reid (1991) 20 NSWLR 661.
There is a statutory defence of having a reasonable excuse. Examples may be a belief that a beach is in fact a nude beach ( Featherstone v Fraser (1983) PSR 2962) or a cry after a heavy implement has fallen on your foot: Karpik v Zisis (1979) 5 PSR 2055.
(c) wilful and obscene exposure
Wilful and Obscene Exposure.
Under s. 5 of the Summary Offences Act wilful and obscene exposure of your person in or within view of a public place or school is an offence punishable by $1000 fine or six months gaol. Person seems to mean genitals: Evans v Ewels  2 All ER 22, Eyles (NSW CCA 1/10/97). There may be a defence of honest and reasonable mistake: Willy Wampfler (1987) 11 NSWLR 541.
Obscene has a narrower definition than indecent although they are related. The circumstances are relevant as is the reaction of the average man: Moloney v Mercer  2 NSWLR 208.
(d) public assemblies
It is an offence under s. 93B Crimes Act if
Maximum penalty: 15 years
It appears that the prosecution must prove that each accused used unlawful violence, and that the threat of violence is insufficient: Regina v Tyler (1993) 96 Cr App R 332, and Regina v Jefferson  1 All ER 270.
It is not necessary for the jury to be satisfied that the 12 or more persons were in close proximity, close enough so that they could assist each other by force if necessary: Parhizkar v Regina  NSWCCA 240 esp at para .
It is an offence under s. 93C Crimes Act if
Maximum penalty: 10 years
When an offender is sentenced for affray conduct of others aggravating the affray
should not be taken into account: Fajka  NSWCCA 166.
Maximum penalty: 6 months (s. 11A Summary Offences Act)
Where an application is made to the Commissioner of Police 7 days before a planned public assembly, the Commissioner must apply to the courts to stop the demonstration. If less than 7 days notice is given the organizers can approach the court for approval. The benefit of being in an authorised public assembly is that you cannot be convicted of being in a public assembly assembly or obstruction on that basis alone. It is not necessary for the police to prove that there is likely to be a breach of the peace. Reasons such as competing public interests (eg. Christmas day, Anzac marches) will suffice: Commissioner of Police v Allen (1984) 14 A Crim R 244.
Under s. 4 of the Inclosed Lands Protection Act a person who enters inclosed lands without the consent of the owner or who remains on inclosed lands after being requested to leave by the owner or occupier or a person apparently in charge is liable to a fine of $500. If the inclosed lands are a school, child care service, hospital or nursing home the maximum penalty is doubled. Once you have permission to enter an enclosure you do not need separate permission to enter each enclosure inside: Press v Tuckwell (1968) 69 SR (NSW) 17. 'Inclosed lands' can include premises open to the piblic such as a shop: DPP v Strang  NSWSC 259.
Defences to Trespass.
Lawful excuse is a defence. An honest belief which is wrong at law does not appear to be a defence: Darcey v Pre-Term Foundation Clinic  2 NSWLR 497. Protesting is not a lawful excuse: O'Donohue v Wille  NSWSC 661.
(f) intentional or reckless damage to property
Intentional or reckless damage to property
Intentional or reckless damage to property is an offence punishable by 5 years, but if done by fire or explosives, 10 years: s. 195 Crimes Act. The offence is Table 1 but if the damage is over $5,000 it is Table 2. If the offence is committed in company, the maximum penalties are 6 years and 11 years respectively.
'Damage' means physical harm, and it need not be permanant or irreparable: DPP v Fraser and O'Donnell  NSWSC 244. Spitting on a stainless steel seat in a police dock does not constitute malicious damage because it does not constitute either physical harm to or functional interference with property so as to render it imperfect or inoperative: Hammond v Regina  NSWCCA 93 esp at para . It has been held that where a defendant chains himself to a machine to render it inoperable, the offence is made out: Grajewski v DPP  NSWCCA 251.
There must be proof of intention or recklessness involving foresight: Kippist v Parnell (1988) 36 A Crim R 18, Kelly v Hillyer (Cantor J 12/3/84), Tzarrangos v Hayes (1991) 53 A Crim R 220. It is not an offence to damage property you solely own, but it seems it is an offence to burn down a house with a mortgage to a bank: Holden (1998) 103 A Crim R 70. If the defendant intended or was reckless to any damage to property, he will also be responsible for any damage to property which results, such as lighting a fire on a cushion which burns down a house: CB v DPP  NSWCA 134.
Soliciting near or within view of a dwelling, school, church or hospital is punishable by $600 or three months: s. 19(1) Summary Offences Act. The prosecution does not have to prove pestering by the defendant: Jitjardn v Thompson (1995) 85 A Crim R 24. Soliciting in those areas in a manner that harasses or distresses others is punishable by $800 or three months.
Public Acts of Prostitution.
Where there is a public act of prostitution (sexual activity for payment whether of the same or different sexes in a car or in view of the public or a dwelling etc) the crime is punishable by $1000 or 6 months: s. 20 Summary Offences Act.
Sex of Defendant.
The sex of the defendant is determined by the external sexual characteristics: Harris and McGuiness (1988) 35 A Crim R 146.
Living from the Earnings of a Prostitute.
It is an offence to live wholly or partly from the earnings of a prostitute punishable by $1000 or 12 months: s. 15. A person is deemed to live wholly or partly from the earnings of a prostitute if he lives with or is habitually in the company of a reputed prostitute and has no visible means of support unless he satisfies the court he has sufficient lawful means of support. A person who lives with a prostitute but has other means of support may not be convicted even if he benefits: Shalunga (1958) 75 WN (NSW) 120. Letting a room to a prostitute at grossly inflated rents may justify a conviction: Thomas  2 All ER 181.
Keeping Premises for the Purpose of Prostitution.
There is still a common law offence of keeping a brothel: Rahme (1993) 70 A Crim R 357. A prostitute who is the sole occupier of a house is not guilty of this offence: Bell v Stewart (1989) 43 A Crim R 400.
9/. Traffic Offences
A public street is defined as any street, road lane or thoroughfare or place open to or used by the public, including any place open to or used by the public on payment of a fare or otherwise. A public street appears to include any car park open to the public without discrimination such as a hotel car park (Abrahams  1 NSWLR 491) or service station: Doherty v Barbaric (1982) 7 PSR 2465.
The test for driving seems to be using controls for directing the direction of the vehicle: Mercorella v Page (1975) 12 SASR 431. It does not appear to include a vehicle under tow: Hampson v Marin  2 NSWLR 782. The crucial matter may be control over the propulsion: Affleck (1992) 65 A Crim R 96. Even if a passenger has grabbed hold of the steering wheel, if the person in the driver's seat has control over the accelerator and the brake, he or she is the driver: Williams  NSWCCA 286.
This offence is created by s. 52A of the Crimes Act. It has been held that that the elements of the offence are that:
Where the alleged victim is an unborn child who is alleged to have died as a result of the accident, the prosecution must prove that:
(see Whelan v Regina  NSWCCA 147 at para ).
It is not necessary for the Crown to establish that the defendant was negligent, as dangerous driving can be constituted by momentary inattention: see King v The Queen  HCA 24. The trial judge should not direct the jury that it is not necessary to be satisfied that the driving was deserving of criminal punishment: King v The Queen  HCA 24.
S. 52A is not restricted to public highways. Passengers will be treated as members of the public unless possibly on a joint escapade: S (1991) 53 A Crim R 263.
Penalty: 10 years for death and 7 years for gbh for dangerous driving, except for aggravated dangerous driving- see below.
Aggravated Dangerous Driving
To be convicted of aggravated dangerous driving, in addition the Crown must prove that at the time of the impact:
The penalties for aggravated dangerous driving are 14 years for death and 11 years for gbh.
Driving in a speed or manner dangerous to the public.
Driving at a speed dangerous to the public can be constituted solely by speed: De Keyzer (1987) 9 NSWLR 709. Danger to the public is an objective standard, and does not depend on realization of the risk to the public. It refers to potential danger not merely actual danger: Hain (1966) 85 WN (NSW) (pt 1) 7.
The jury should be instructed that negligence, driving in a manner dangerous to the public and culpable driving are all divergences from the standard of driving of the ordinary prudent driver: Buttsworth  1 NSWLR 658. However to find the accused guilty of this offence, the jury would have to be satisfied that there was a serious breach of what the jury considered to be the proper management and control of a vehicle on a public road, so serious as to be in reality a potential danger to other persons on or in the vicinity of that road: Goodman (NSWCCA 10/12/91, cited in Saunders (2002) 133 A Crim R 104. The jury should usually be directed that mere negligence is not enough: Regina v Hopton (NSW CCA 8/10/98), Saunders (2002) 133 A Crim R 104.
Drive Under the Influence.
If a person drives or occupies the drivers seat of a motor vehicle and is under the influence of a drug or alcohol that person is guilty of an offence: s. 112 Road Transport Act. The evidence of a police officer that a person's breath smells of liquor, is unsteady on their feet, has bleary eyes etc is admissible and the police officer can give expert evidence that the person is drunk: Whitby (1957) 74 WN (NSW) 441.
It is not necessary to prove that the person is incapable of properly controlling a motor vehicle: Molloy v McDonald (1939) 56 WN (NSW) 159
The procedure for breath testing is as follows:
If this procedure is not carried out the certificate may still be admissible. Under Bunning v Cross (1978) 141 CLR 54, 52 ALJR the following factors need to be considered when for example the breath test is administered:
As a result of clause 2 Schedule 3 Road Transport Act a person cannot be required to undergo a breath analysis:
A certificate purporting to be signed by an authorised officer as to a person's alcohol reading is prima facie evidence of the things in the certificate: clause 35 Schedule 3 Road Transport Act. A certificate outside the 2 hour limit is inadmissible unless there is expert evidence about continuance: Olejarnik (1994) 72 A Crim R 542.
A certificate as to blood analysis is evidence of the things stated in the certificate if the certificate states that:
Wilfully Alter Concentration.
It is an offence to wilfully alter the concentration of alcohol in the blood after having been required to undergo a breath test: clause 16 Schedule 3 Road Transport Act. The penalties are the same as for high range pca. The act of the driver must be done with the object of distorting a blood test: McRae v Bower (Yeldham J 26/6/86 ).
Refuse Breath Test
It is an offence to refuse a breath test and the penalty
is a $1100 fine: clause 13(1), Schedule 3, Road Transport Act.
Refuse Breath Analysis.
It is an offence to refuse a breath analysis and the penalty is exactly the same as for high range pca: clause 13(1), Schedule 3, Road Transport Act.
Refusing a breath analysis is an offence of absolute liability: Walker (1994) 77 A Crim R 236.
Aid and abet PCA.
It is necessary to prove that the aider and abettor knew that the driver had drunk excessive alcohol: Bruce v Williams (1989) 46 A Crim R 122. Recklessness does not suffice.
Drive While Disqualified.
It is an offence to drive whilst disqualified or cancelled: s. 54 Road Transport Act. It appears that the defence of honest and reasonable mistake is a defence to drive whilst disqualified, but there must be some evidence of the mistake from the defendant: El Hassan v DPP  NSWCA 330, but see Vlahos  2 NSWLR 580. It is not necessary to prove that the notice was served. Once honest and reasonable mistake has been raised, it is up to the Crown to disprove honest and reasonable mistake beyond reasonable doubt: Valentine v Eid [CN 119]. The mistake of fact must be such that if the mistaken belief was true, no offence would have been committed: DPP v Kailahi (2008) 191 A Crim R 145 .
If the disqualification is quashed on appeal, the disqualification periodremains on foot until the time of the appeal and there can still be a drive while disqualified charge during this period: RMS v Porret  NSWCA 30.
Use Motor Vehicle.
The offence of use motor vehicle applies only to converting a vehicle to your own use (eg by driving it): Willis v Sugden [CN 114].
There is an obligation to stop and give particulars after an accident which is not limited to the scene of the accident: Solman v Libdy [CN 127].
Major Traffic Offences
For the purposes of disqualification periods, 'major traffic offence' is defined in s. 4 Road Transport Act as:
The penalties for major traffic offences are set out below. There is a higher penalty for a second major offence within 5 years.
The disqualification periods are found in s. 188 Road Transport (General) Act. In working out the fines, it is important to bear in mind that the term 'penalty unit' is currently defined as being $110: s. 17 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
The penalties are set out in the table below. In this table 'RTA' is an abbreviation for Road Transport Act.
|Abbreviated Offence||Maximum Goal||Maximum Fine||Minimum
|Novice range pca (s. 110(1) RTA)||nil||$1100||3 months (s. 205(2) RTA)||6 months (s. 205(2) RTA)||6 months (s. 205(2) RTA)|
|second or subsequent||nil||$2200||6 months (s. 205(2) RTA)||12 months (s. 205(2) RTA)||12 months (s. 205(2) RTA)|
|nil||$1100||3 months (s. 205(2) RTA)||6 months (s. 205(2) RTA)|
|Special category pca (s. 110(2) RTA)||nil||$2200||6 months (s. 205(3) RTA)||12 months (s. 205(3) RTA)||6 months (s. 205(2) RTA)|
|second or subsequent||nil||$1100||3 months (s. 205(2) RTA)||6 months (s. 205(2) RTA)||12 months (s. 205(3) RTA)|
|nil||$2200||6 months (s. 205(3) RTA)||12 months (s. 205(3) RTA)|
|lpca (s. 110(3) RTA)||9 months||$2200||6 months (s. 205(2) RTA)||12 months (s. 205(2) RTA)||6 months (s. 205(2) RTA)|
|second or subsequent||12 months||$3300||12 months (s. 205(3) RTA)||3 years (s. 205(3) RTA)||12 months (s. 205(3) RTA)|
|18 months||$3300||12 months (s. 205(2) RTA)||3 years (s. 205(2) RTA)|
|mpca (s. 110(4) RTA)||2 years||$5500||2 years (s. 205(3) RTA)||5 years (s. 205(3) RTA)||12 months (s. 205(2) RTA)|
|second or subsequent||9 months||$2200||6 months(s. 205(2) RTA)||12 months (s. 205(2) RTA)||3 years (s. 205(3) RTA)|
|12 months||$3300||12 months (s. 205(3) RTA)||3 years (s. 205(3) RTA)|
|hpca (s. 110(5) RTA)||18 months||$3300||12 months (s. 54 (9) RTA)||12 months (s. 54 (9) RTA)||3 years (s. 205(2) RTA)|
|second or subsequent||2 years||$5500||2 years (s. 54 (9) RTA)||2 years (s. 54 (9) RTA)||5 years (s. 205(3) RTA)|
|18 months||$3300||12 months(s. 205(2) RTA)||3 years (s. 205(2) RTA)|
|DUI (s. 112 RTA)||2 years||$5500||2 years (s. 205(3) RTA)||5 years (s. 205(3) RTA)||12 months (s. 205(2) RTA)|
|second or subsequent||12 months||$3300||12 months (s. 205(3) RTA)||3 years (s. 205(3) RTA)|
|DWC/DWS/DWD (s. 54 RTA)||18 months||$3300||12 months (s. 54 (9) RTA)||12 months (s. 54 (9) RTA)|
|Second||2 years||$5500||2 years (s. 54 (9) RTA)||2 years (s. 54 (9) RTA)|
|Fail to stop and render assistance (s. 146 RTA)||18 months||$3300||12 months(s. 205(2) RTA)||3 years (s. 205(2) RTA)|
|Second||2 years||$5500||2 years (s. 205(3) RTA)||5 years (s. 205(3) RTA)|
'PCA' of course refers to the 'prescribed concentration of alcohol.' Novice range pca' applies only to drivers who hold a learner's licence or a provisional licence. The range is less than .02 but more than zero (s. 108 Road Transport Act).
'Special category PCA' is pca for special categories of driver, who include learners, provisional drivers, disqualified or cancelled drivers, and drivers who have not held a licence for more than 6 months (s. 107 (2) Road Transport Act). The range is .02 or more but less than .05 (s. 108 Road Transport Act).
LPCA is 'low range pca' and is .05 or more but less than .08 (s. 108 Road Transport Act)
MPCA is 'mid range pca' and is .08 or more but less than .15 (s. 108 Road Transport Act)
HPCA is 'high range pca' and is .15 or higher (s. 108 Road Transport Act).
DUI is 'drive under the influence'.
'DWC' is the offence of 'drive while cancelled', 'DWS' is drive while suspended, and 'DWD' is the offence of 'drive while disqualified' under: s. 54 Road Transport Act.
'Fail to stop' (s. 146 Road Transport Act) is the offence of failing to stop and render assistance after an accident in which a person is killed or injured.
Penalties for drive manner dangerous, refuse analysis, and alter concentration are the same as hpca.
It has been held that where a person is charged with drive whilst disqualified, the only offences relevant to determine whether the offence is a second or subsequent offence is the offence of drive whilst disqualified: DPP v Partridge (2009) 74 NSWLR 62 .
There is a guideline judgment on pca offences, Application by the Attorney General... (2004) 61 NSWLR 305, 147 A Crim R 546, which is dealt with in more detail in the chapter on sentencing.
Commencement of Disqualification Periods
Where an offender receives a prison sentence, it is doubtful if the sentencing judge can commence the disqualification period at a later date (such as the date the non-parole period expires): Hei Hei v Regina  NSWCCA 87 esp at para .
10/. Offences of Dishonesty
Elements of Larceny.
Larceny has the following elements:
Illich v The Queen (1987) 162 CLR 110 per Wilson and Dawson JJ. at para .
The prosecution can charge a person with stealing property, the owner of which is unknown, but there must be proof that the goods are actually stolen and the prosecution must adduce evidence that the owner cannot be ascertained: Ellis v Lawson (1987) 33 A Crim R 69.
The property must be a specific moveable item and must have some value, no matter how slight: Daley (1879) 12 SCR (NSW) 151.This includes illegal drugs: Anic (1993) 68 A Crim R 313. It appears not to include confidential information: (Stewart (1988) 41 CCC (3d) 481) or withdrawals from a bank account: Croton v The Queen (1967) 117 CLR 326.
Intention to Permanently Deprive.
There must be proof of an intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property, despite the existence of s. 118 Crimes Act: Foster v The Queen (1967) 118 CLR 117.
A stealing must be 'dishonest,' and in deciding whether or not it is dishonest the jury should apply the current standards of ordinary people, and then determine whether or not the defendant must have realised that what he was doing was dishonest: Feely  1 QB 530 and Ghosh  1 QB 1053, adopted for larceny in Weatherstone (1987) 8 PSR 3729. See also Macleod v The Queen (2003) 214 CLR 230.
Intention and Taking.
The taking of the property must take place at the same time as the intention to steal. Therefore if the initial taking is innocent, a later intention to steal will not suffice: Matthews (1950) 34 Cr App R 55.
However if the initial taking is trespassory, a later dishonest intention will suffice: Riley (1853) 169 ER 674.
Larceny by Finding.
Where the Crown alleges stealing by finding, the Crown must negative the possibility that the goods have been abandoned and that the accused did not believe that the owner could be found. What the accused does to attempt to locate the owner is relevant: MacDonald  1 NSWLR 729. A later discovery of the owner and intention to keep the goods will not suffice: Thurborn (1848) 169 ER 293. Occupiers of land have possession of lost things on it: Hibbert v McKiernan  2 KB 142.
Claim of Right.
If the accused honestly even if unreasonably believed that he was asserting a lawful claim of right there is no larceny: Bernhard  1 KB 264. It is sufficient if the defendant honestly believed that he was legally entitled to the property, even if he did not believe that he had a right to claim it the way that he did: Love (1989) 44 A Crim R 416, Fuge (2001) 123 A Crim R 310. You can make a claim of right on behalf of someone else: Saunders (1991) 57 SASR 102. The defence only applies if you can only take what you believe you are owed: Sneddon (1994) PD , Fuge (2001) 123 A Crim R 310.
The defence applies not only to stealing but crimes which have larceny as an element of the offence, such as robbery: Fuge (2001) 123 A Crim R 310 (but note that claim of right will not provide a defence to an assault which is part of the offence).
For Commonwealth offences see Commonwealth Criminal Code section
If a person hands another property under a mistake, it appears that there can be no larceny unless the mistake is a fundamental one as to the identity of the accused or the item handed over, but not for example as to the amount of money handed over: Illich v The Queen (1987)162 CLR 110 interpreting Ashwell (1885) 16 QBD 190 and Middleton (1873) LR 2 CCR 38. It may be that these cases should not be followed at all and property handed over as a result of a mistake cannot found a conviction for larceny: Illich, Potisk (1973) 6 SASR 389, Marshall v Szommer (1989) 44 A Crim R 198.
Stealing from Machines.
Making a withdrawal from an automatic teller when you have closed your account is stealing, even though the machine arguably 'consented': Kennison v Daire (1986) 160 CLR 129, 60 ALJR 249. It even appears to be stealing if the withdrawal is for more than the balance of the account: Evenett (1987) 24 A Crim R 330.
Larceny by a Trick.
If the accused obtains possession from the victim by reason of a trick, then larceny has been committed although the owner voluntarily handed over possession. However if the owner intends to hand over ownership to the accused, then larceny is not available but false pretences may be: Ward (1938) 38 SR (NSW) 308, Justelius  1 NSWLR 471.
Larceny by a Bailee.
Where money is alleged to have been stolen by a bailee, there cannot be a conviction of larceny as a bailee unless the bailment is in relation to the actual notes and coins: Ward.
Where a car an offender 'takes and drives' a car, without
necessarily intending to permanently deprive the owner of the car permanently, the
offender can still be guilty of 'deemed' larceny by way of s. 154A Crimes Act. Importantly
this includes being someone who knows the car is stolen agreeing to be a passenger
in the car. As a result 'taking and driving' a car is deemed to be larceny, the maximum
penalty for which 5 years imprisonment (see s. 117 Crimes Act). A conviction under s. 154AA involves a finding that
the offender intended to permanently deprive the owner of the car. The maximum penalty
in these circumstances is 10 years imprisonment.
(b) fraud and deception
This offence only applies if the money is entrusted to the accused not to use as he thinks fit but to apply it in a particular way or to retain an equivalent sum: Stephens v The Queen (1978) 139 CLR 315. There must be a fiduciary element in the relationship between the accused and the property: Andrews v The Queen (1968) 126 CLR 198. 'Fraudulently' means dishonestly: Lawrence (1996) 86 A Crim R 412. 'Money' includes cheques and bank accounts: Hunt (1996) 88 A Crim R 307.
The offence can be committed if a person receives property even if it is not delivered to him by the owner and the owner has no knowledge of it, such as when a car dealer receives money on behalf of a finance company: R v J (1987) 9 NSWLR 615.
False pretences is committed when a person obtains property from another as a result of a false pretence or a wilfully false promise: s. 179. It appears that even if the contractual arrangement is to pass possession, and not ownership, false pretences can be committed: Petronius-Kuff  3 NSWLR 178.
A false statement of future intention is not a false pretence: Greene v The Queen (1949) 79 CLR 353. However this is covered by the 'wilfully false promise' part of the section. A wilfully false promise is one which is knowingly intentionally false at the time it was made: Harrison  VR 117. A promise is meant in the same sense as a contract, and can be one whose performance depends upon the actions of others (eg false promises about returns on a business): Freeman and Sargent (1981) 4 A Crim R 55.
If the person upon whom the deception is practised realizes the deception is false, no crime is committed even if the property is handed over, but there may be an attempt: Kassis v Katsontonis  3 NSWLR 330.
The requirement for proof of an intention to defraud requires only proof of an intention to deprive a person by deceit, even if the person does with the property exactly what he says he will: Balcombe v De Simoni (1972) 126 CLR 576, London and Globe Finance Corporation  1 Ch 728. Where the person deceived is a public official, there is no need to prove economic loss: Welham  AC 103.
Obtaining a Benefit By Deception.
It is an offence to by deception to dishonestly obtain property or a financial advantage: s. 192E. It is not clear whether or not gaining time to pay an existing debt suffices: Fisher v Bennett (1987) 85 FLR 469, Matthews v Fountain  VR 1045. Using a credit card after it has been cancelled can constitute the offence: Lambie  3 WLR 88. The cause of the benefit being handed over must be the deception: Ho (1989) 39 A Crim R 145. Serving a statement of claim is protected: Jamieson (1993) 67 A Crim R 150.
The offence is not made out when a bank customer contnued to make withdrawls fron his bank account which the bank knew exceeded the balance of the account: Moore v Regina  NSWCCA 260 esp at para .
An omission to inform the alleged victim of some matter where there is no express legal duty to do so will not constitute the offence: CDPP v Poniatowska  HCA 43.
Conspiracy to Defraud.
A conspiracy to defraud is made out where there is an agreement by fraudulent means to inflict economic loss on a person or deprive him of an advantage, or to cause a public official to act contrary to his duty. Fraudulently means dishonestly: Horsington and Bortolus  2 NSWLR 72.
It is not necessary to give the jury a Ghosh  1 QB 1053 direction that the prosecution must prove that what the accused did was dishonest according to the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people, unless an issue about whether what the accused did was dishonest arises on the evidence: Peters v The Queen (1998) 192 CLR 493, 72 ALJR 517.Conspiracy to defraud is an offence against the common law of Australia and so may be tried in any state where there is a real connection with the crime: Lipohar v The Queen (1999) 200 CLR 485.
Forgery, or making a false instrument, is an offence: s. 253 Crimes Act. Forgery means making or altering a document so it tells a lie about itself. This does not include falsely witnessing a genuine signature: Brott v The Queen (1992) 173 CLR 426, 66 ALJR 256, 58 A Crim R 97.
Using a false instrument.
It is an offence to make or use a false instrument, intending to induce another person to accept the instrument as genuine, to obtain property, to obtain a financial advantage, or to influence the exercise of a public duty: s. 254 Crimes Act.
For a person to be convicted of using a false instrument as a principal in the first deegree, there must be prove that the accused dealt with the document in some way: Sultan v Regina  NSWCCA 175.
A document can be a copy: Nikolaidis v Regina (2008) 191 A Crim R 556 .
(c) robbery, burglary and blackmail
Robbery is constituted by an intention to steal, with some degree of force putting the person in fear, and a taking from the person. It is not necessary for the Crown to establish that the item was held or worn by the victim, it is enough if the item is in his immediate presence: Delk (1999) 46 NSWLR 340, 106 A Crim R 240. There must be proof that force was used to overpower the other party and prevent him resisting, not just to get the property: Gnosil (1824) 171 ER 1206. The force or threat of force must come before the property is taken: Foster (CCA 7/4/95).
There must be an intention to permanently deprive some-one of their property: Salameh (1987) 26 A Crim R 353.
The charge should not be described as assault and rob in the charge, but as robbery: Smith and Kirton (1990) 47 A Crim R 43.
Claim of right is a defence to robbery: Langham (1984) 12 A Crim R 391, Skivington (1967) 1 All ER 483, Fuge  NSWCCA 208. However it is not a dfence to assault.
The penalty for robbery or stealing from the person is 14
years (s. 94). Sentences for 'steal from
person' tend to be lower than sentences for robbery.
Robbery in Circumstances of Aggravation.
A robbery is in circumstances of aggravation if any of the following occur before, during or immediately after the robbery:
Under previous legislation, a 'push' was held not to constitute striking: Clarke (1993) 71 A Crim R 58.
The penalty for aggravated robbery is 20 years gaol (s. 95).
Armed Robbery or Robbery in Company.
Armed robbery or robbery in company is an offence (s. 97).
'Armed robbery' means armed with an offensive weapon or instrument. 'Offensive weapon or instrument' is defined as
(s. 4 Crimes Act). The definition
of 'offensive weapon or instrument' is clearly wide enough to cover (for example)
guns, knives, screwdrivers, and blood filled syringes.
'Dangerous weapon' is defined to mean a firearm, a prohibited weapon under the Prohibited Weapons Act, or a spear gun (s. 4 Crimes Act). Replica firearms are included in the definition of prohibited weapons (see Schedule 1 to the Weapons Prohibition Act). For practical purposes, it is important to note that a normal knife (not for example a flick knife) or a screwdriver are offensive weapons, but are not dangerous weapons (see Schedule 1 to the Weapons Prohibition Act). The difference between offensive weapons and dangerous weapon has practical consequences in relation to the maximum penalty (as to which see below) and also the availability of felony murder.
'In company' requires more than that others were present,
at least they must be ready to assist or encouraging: Crozier (1996) PD . The
requisite intention is that the offender placed himself in a position where he knew
or expected that the victim would know of his presence and ability to assist in the
robbery if called upon: Leoni  NSWCCA 14. To establish
that offenders were 'in company', it has been held that there must be such proximity
as would enable the inference that the coercive effect of the group operated, either
to embolden or reassure the offender in committing the crime, or to intimidate the
victim into submission: Button and Griffen (2002) 54 NSWLR 455. It is also necessary to show that the accused had a common purpose, that is, that there was an express or implied agreement to achieve an agreed end: Markou v Regina  NSWCCA 64 at paras  to .
The penalty is 20 years unless the offence is aggravated by carrying a dangerous weapon, in which case the penalty is 25 years (s. 97).
Robbery with Wounding.
Where there is an armed robbery or robbery in company and immediately before during or immediately after the robbery the accused wounds or inflicts grievous bodily harm on the person being robbed the penalty is 25 years (s. 98). For offences committed after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 7 years.
It is not necessary for the Crown to prove that there was an intent to wound: Ryan v The Queen (1967) 121 CLR 205.
Demanding Money with Menaces.
Demanding money with menaces is an offence under s. 99. There is no need to prove an intention to overbear the will of the victim, only to establish an intention to steal: Evans (CCA 7/12/79). A threat to property will suffice to be a menace: Kuo (1999) 49 NSWLR 226. The offence is complete when the demand is made in circumstances where the demand is likely to be communicated: Austin v The Queen (1989) 166 CLR 669, 63 ALJR 413, 40 A Crim R 355. The maximum penalty is 10 years, or if in company, 14 years (s. 99).
It is an offence to assault someone with intent to take
a motor vehicle and take and drive or take with intent to drive the motor vehicle.
It is also an offence to take a motor vehicle without the owner's consent when there
is a person in it (s.154C).The penalty is for the basic offence 10 years (s.154C (1)). For offences committed
after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 3 years. Where there are circumstances of aggravation (in company
or armed with an offensive weapon or inflicting actual bodily harm) the penalty is
14 years (s.154C (2)). For
offences committed after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 5 years.
Breaking and Entry.
It is an offence to break and enter premises and commit a serious indictable offence (s. 112). 'Serious indictable offence' is defined as an offence which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years or more (s. 4 Crimes Act). Typically the person may be charged with break, enter and steal.
Breaking can consist of opening a closed but unlocked door or window, but not opening something already partly open: Smith (1827) 1 Mood 178, Galea (1989) 46 A Crim R 158 and Stanford v Regina (2007) 70 NSWLR 474, 179 A Crim R 541. The opening of a closed interior door is sufficient: Regina v Johnson (1786) 2 East PC 448. Entry of any part of the body will suffice.
There is no breaking where permission to enter has been obtained without artifice, a trick, or a threat: Ghamrawi  NSWCCA 195 esp at para .
The penalty is normally 14 years, unless the offence is aggravated (see below).
Aggravated Break and Enter.
The aggravated offence ('home invasion') is committed if the offender is
'Offensive weapon' includes anything which is made or adapted for offensive purposes, or which is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used for offensive purposes (s. 4 Crimes Act). The definition of 'offensive weapon or instrument' is clearly wide enough to cover (for example) guns, knives, screwdrivers, and blood filled syringes.
As to the meaning of 'in company', it has been held that there must be such proximity as would enable the inference that the coercive effect of the group operated, either to embolden or reassure the offender in committing the crime, or to intimidate the victim into submission: Button and Griffen (2002) 54 NSWLR 455.
For aggravated break enter and steal the penalty is 20 years
(s. 112 (2)). For offences committed
after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 5 years.
Specially Aggravated Break and Enter
The specifically aggravated offence is committed when the
offender maliciously inflicts grievous bodily harm on any person or is armed with
a dangerous weapon (s. 105A).'Dangerous weapon' is defined to mean a firearm, a prohibited
weapon under the Prohibited Weapons Act, or a spear
gun (s. 4 Crimes Act). Replica firearms
are included in the definition of prohibited weapons (see Schedule 1 to the Weapons Prohibition Act). For practical
purposes, it is important to note that a normal knife (not for example a flick knife)
or a screwdriver are offensive weapons, but are not dangerous weapons (see Schedule
1 to the Weapons Prohibition Act).
For specially aggravated break and enter the penalty is 25 years (s. 112 (3)). For offences committed after 3 February 2003, the 'standard non-parole period' is 7 years.
Exactly the same penalty structure that applies to break enter and steal also applies to entering premises with intent to commit a felony and breaking out (s. 109).
For the offence of break and enter with intent to commit a felony, the maximum penalty is 10 years, if aggravated, 14 years, and if specifically aggravated, 20 years (s. 113).
(d) receiving and goods in custody
The elements of receiving are:
The maximum penalty is 10 years, but if the property is
a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle part, 12 years.
Proof of Theft.
The fact that the goods are stolen must be proved by evidence admissible against the alleged receiver (e. g. not the out of court admissions of the thief- but see Ollerton (1989) 40 A Crim R 1, Mabbott (1989) 40 A Crim R 243). Normally the owner of the property must be called to give evidence.
Proof of Possession.
The receiver must be in possession of the goods. Mere presence in a car where the goods are found is insufficient: Fien (1962) NSWR 134.
It must be proved that the accused knew had a state of belief about the goods which amounted to:
It is not sufficient that a reasonable man would have known
that the goods were stolen: Parker. However it is permissible for the judge to say
that the jury may convict if they find that the accused must have known that the
goods were stolen: Fallon (1981) 4 A Crim R 413, Whalebone (1983) PSR 2904. If directions
are given about wilful blindness, it must be stressed to the jury that this is only
a step and that the crucial question was the actual belief of the accused: McConnell
(1993) 69 A Crim R 39, Dykyj (1993) 66 A Crim R 567.
An altered engine number doesn't necessarily mean that even a dealer will know the goods are stolen: Seaton  PD .
The belief that the goods were stolen must exist at the time when the goods come into the possession of the defendant: Curlija  SASR 1, Murphy (1984) 12 A Crim R 38.
Where the accused is in possession of goods which are recently stolen, the jury is entitled to convict the accused of stealing or receiving unless it finds that the explanation given by the accused could reasonably be true: Bellamy  2 NSWLR 727, Ately (1985) 9 NSWLR 226, Kavanagh (CCA 1/9/82 PSR 2576), Bruce v The Queen (1987) 74 ALR 219, 61 ALJR 603. It is incorrect to refer to the doctrine as raising a presumption: Claxton (CCA 23/3/84 ). The doctrine does not operate unless there is first proof that the goods are stolen: Trainer v The Queen (1906) 4 CLR 126.
The Alternative Count.
Where an accused is charged with both larceny and receiving a special verdict is available where the jury is unable to determine if the goods were stolen or received: s. 121 Crimes Act. The jury should be directed that before returning a verdict of guilty for larceny, the jury must be satisfied unanimously that the accused is guilty of larceny, not receiving, and vice versa: Nguyen (NSW CCA u/r 20/2/97, (1997) 4 Crim LN ). The counts of receiving and larceny must relate to the same property, and the jury must be directed that they can only return a verdict of guilty on the special verdict if they are not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt on the larceny and receiving counts: Clarke (1995) 78 A Crim R 226. If the accused is not charged with the alternative count, the jury must be directed that in considering the larceny count, the jury must be satisfied that there is no reasonable possibility that that the accused is guilty of receiving, and presumably vice versa: Regina v McCarthy and Ryan (1993) 71 A Crim R 395.
It is a an abuse of process to charge an accused with a substantive offence of selling an illegal object, and also charging the accused with a money laundering offence for possession of the money: Nahlous v Regina  NSWCCA 58. For the offence of laundering money reasonably suspected of being stolen or the proceeds of crime, the prosecution does not need to specify a particular offence: Lin v Regina  NSWCCA 204.
There is a complex hierachy of offences depending upon the amount of money involved, and state of knowledge of the accused as to whether or not the money was believed to be stolen or the proceeds of crime by the accused, suspected of being stolen or the proceeds of crime by the accused, or reasonably suspected of being stolen or the proceeds of crime. It is a breach of the principles in The Queen v De Simoni (1981) 147 CLR 383 for a judge to sentence an offender who has pleaded guilty to the offence of suspecting that money was the proceeds of crime on the basis that he knew the money was the proceeds of crime: Shi v Regina  NSWCCA 276.
The Offence of Goods in Custody
The offence of goods in custody has the following elements:
- his custody
- in the custody of another person
- in premises or
- gives custody to a person not lawfully entitled to possession of the thing AND
The maximum penalty is $550 or 6 months gaol. but if the 'thing' is a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part, $1100 or 1 year gaol: s. 527C Crimes Act.
Goods in Custody.
The goods can consist of bank notes (Dittmar  1 NSWLR 722) but not credits in a bank account: Grant v The Queen (1981) 147 CLR 503. The very goods must be suspected of being stolen. It does not suffice to be the proceeds of sale of stolen goods: Brebner v Seager  VLR 166. It is enough if some of the items are suspect: Edens v Cleary  1 NSWLR 278.
Custody means immediate de facto control: Ex parte McPherson (1933) 50 WN (NSW) 25. In shared premises there must be evidence of knowledge of the existence of the goods and evidence excluding possession on the part of other residents: JAL and LL (1974) 3 DCR 182 .
The custody must be at the time of arrest: English (1989) 17 NSWLR 149, Larkey v Lahz (1993) PD . If the goods are found by the police after the accused is in custody, arguably the goods are not in his custody: DPP v Miers (1997) 96 A Crim R 408, Dahl (1997) 96 A Crim R 502.
S. 527C (1) (d) includes the situation
where suspect goods have been sold to an innocent third party: Gilroy v Jebra (1992)
29 NSWLR 20. Prosecutions under s. 527C (1) (d) relating to giving
custody of a motor vehicle to another must be commenced within 2 years of the date
of the offence (s. 527(1A)).
Reasonably Suspected of Being Stolen.
The magistrate must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the goods are reasonably suspected of being stolen or unlawfully obtained on the basis of all the evidence available to him: Ex parte Patmoy; re Jack (1944) 44 SR (NSW) 351, Anderson (1992) 62 A Crim R 277. It may not be enough to show that there are competing lawful inferences: Chan (1992) 28 NSWLR (per Mahoney J, but contra see Abadee J: must be the strongest inference available). It is not necessary to show that the goods were stolen or unlawfully obtained in NSW: Porter  NSWCCA 353.
It is the opinion of the magistrate, not the arresting officer that is important: Parker v Todhunter (1987) 26 A Crim R 169. Suspicion must attach to the goods, not just the thief: O'Sullivan v Tregaskis  SASR 12. Hearsay has been said to be admissible (Tucs v Manley (1985) 62 ALR 460), (but this is really a case on expert evidence?).
There must be an intention to use the goods in a way inconsistent with the owner's use: Neilands (Ducker 4/4/91 u/r).
It is a defence for the defendant to show on the balance of probabilities that he had no reasonable grounds to suspect the items: Tegge v Caldwell (1988) 15 NSWLR 226.
Possession of an Implement.
Possession of an implement without lawful excuse capable of housebreaking or entering a car is an offence: s. 114. If the item is carried by a companion, there must be evidence not only of knowledge but of joint control: Pierpoint (1993) 71 A Crim R 187.
Older authorities said that the implement is one ordinarily used for lawful purposes there must be evidence that the accused had the implement with the intention of using it: Oldham (1852) 3 Carrington and Kirwan 249, Kirwan (1932) JP Reports 137, and Marijancevic (1991) 54 A Crim R 431. However it was held in Reynolds (NSWCCA unreported 22/8/1986) that the Crown simply has to establish that the item is capable of being used for that purpose (see also Pierpoint). It is submitted that the earlier authorities are to be preferred.
The accused has the onus of proving lawful excuse on the balance of probabilities: Patterson  2 QB 429.
The maximum penalty for the offence is 7 years imprisonment.
11/. Attempt, Conspiracy and Complicity.
Accessorial liability is probably the most complicated area of the criminal law. In this chapter, I have attempted wherever possible to draw out what directions should be given in practice. It is acknowledged that many of the decisions referred to below appear to be inconsistent and indeed irrenconcilable.
Mens Rea of Attempt.
The mens rea for attempt is intention. Recklessness will not suffice, but may be evidence of intention: Mohan  QB 1, Alister v The Queen (1984) 154 CLR 404, 58 ALJR 97, Knight v The Queen (1992) 175 CLR 495, 66 ALJR 860, 63 A Crim R 166 (esp at para ),Inegbedion v Regina  NSWCCA 291 esp at paras  to .
Actus Reus of Attempt.
There are a number of competing tests for the actus reus of attempt:
For Commonwealth offences, the test is whether the conduct was more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence: Commonwealth Criminal Code section 11.1, Inegbedion v Regina  NSWCCA 291 esp at para .
The intention of the accused is relevant in determining whether or not the acts were sufficiently proximate: O'Connor v Killian (1984) 15 A Crim R 353. Thus trying the doors of a car will not be sufficiently proximate unless there are also admissions: Brinkworth v Zimmer (Yeldham J 16/10/84 )
If an accused is charged with attempting to commit an offence, if the Crown proves intention, and an unequivocal act going beyond mere preparation, impossibility is no defence: Mai (1992) 60 A Crim R 49 and Gulyas (1985) 2 NSWLR 260, not following Donnelly  NZLR 980 cited in Haughton v Smith  AC 476. See also Commonwealth Criminal Code section 11.1(4) and Onuorah v Regina  NSWCCA 238.
In McCoy (2001) 51 NSWLR 702, 123 A Crim R 81 a conviction
for knowingly take part in the manufacture of methylamphetamine was quashed because
the materials used could never make methylamphetamine. However, a conviction of conspiracy to manufacture drugs with the ingredients which could never make those drugs was upheld in El-Azzi  NSWCCA 455.
Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice.
It is not necessary to prove that the act has a prospect of perverting the course of justice, as long as it is aimed at having that effect: Murphy  4 NSWLR 42. There must be identifiable court proceedings, not just a police inquiry: The Queen v Rogerson (1991) 51 A Crim R 359, (1992) 60 A Crim R 429, (1992) 174 CLR 268, 66 ALJR 500. Where proceedings have not been commenced, it is necessary for the Crown to prove that the defendant was apprehensive of a prosecution for the offence, and took the actions to avoid a prosecution being brought: Regina v OM  NSWCCA 109. Sentences: collected in Taouk (1993) PD .
Attempting to Aid and Abet or Conspire
It is not an offence to attempt to aid and abet or conspire: Commonwealth Criminal Code section
Conspiracy is an agreement to do an unlawful act, or to do a lawful act by unlawful means. The actus reus is the agreement itself. The mens rea is the intention to carry out the unlawful purpose: Wilson (1994) PD . Recklessness is not sufficient: Peters v The Queen (1998) 192 CLR 493, 72 ALJR 517 at 530.
It is necessary for there to be at least two parties to the conspiracy, both of whom intend to carry out the agreement: Gerakiteys v The Queen (1984) 153 CLR 137, 58 ALJR 182. At common law aconspiracy could be constituted simply of a husband and wife because they are regarded at law as one person: Mawji  AC 126, but this the common law position has been reversed by s. 580D Crimes Act. It is not necessary for at least two parties to be convicted of conspiracy: The Queen v Darby (1982) 148 CLR 668, 56 ALJR 688, Commonwealth Criminal Code section 11.5(3). Where the evidence against one party is significantly different from that against other parties consideration should be given to separate trials: Darby.
Under the Commonwealth Criminal Code a conviction can be sustained for conspiring to commit more than one offence: B v Regina  NSWCCA 85.
Late joining of a conspiracy
The Crown does not haveto prove that all the members of the conspiracy joined the conspiracy at the same time. An accused who joins an existing conspiracy at a time after it was formed can still be found guilty of conspiracy: Damoun v Regina  NSWCCA 109 esp at para .
Types of conspiracy.
Conspiracies to commit a criminal act are conspiracies but so are:
A conspiracy involving many people cannot be established if the only evidence is that there were many small conspiracies: Gerakiteys v The Queen (1984) 153 CLR 317, 58 ALJR 182.
Withdrawal from a Conspiracy
A person cannot be convicted of conspiracy to commit a Commonwealth
offence if before an overt act was committed, the person withdrew from the agreement
and took all reasonable steps to prevent the commission of the offence: Commonwealth Criminal Code section
Acts or statements of a co-accused in furtherance of a conspiracy may be admissible against a co-accused. Normally narrative accounts of what has already happened (for example, rcords of interview after arrest) are not in furtherance of the conspiracy: Tripodi v The Queen (1961) 104 CLR 1.
Statements of a co-accused in furtherance of the conspiracy are admissible to prove the existence of the conspiracy. Statements are only admissible to prove that an accused participated in the conspiracy if there is already reasonable evidence of the existence of the conspiracy. Reasonable evidence appears to mean the same as prima facie case, with a discretion to reject the evidence: Ahern v The Queen (1988) 165 CLR 87, 62 ALJR 400, Masters (1992) 59 A Crim R 445 at 459. The statements by which the conspiracy is made are not admissible: Masters.
The jury should be warned that evidence admitted under the co-conspirators rule should be scrutinized with care: Chai (1991) 60 A Crim R 305. The jury should be directed what evidence is admissible against each accused: Checconi (1988) 34 A Crim R 160, Salib and Hanna (u/r, 8/12/89 ).
Conspiracy and Substantive Offences.
Where there is a substantive offence there should not be a duplication in penalties, and the penalty for the conspiracy should not exceed that set for the offence. Generally it is undesirable to profer a charge of conspiracy where a substantive charge is available: The Queen v Hoar (1981) 148 CLR 32. In Commonwealth matters, the court may dismiss a charge of conspiracy if it is in the interests of justice to do so: Commonwealth Criminal Code section 11.5 (6).
Conspiracy with Party Unknown.
A count of conspiracy can refer to a conspiracy with persons unknown: Gerakiteys v The Queen (1984) 153 CLR 313 at 334, Harrison (1995) 79 A Crim R 149.
Conspiring to Commit the Impossible.
It is not an offence to join in a conspiracy to do an act which is impossible to commit : Barbouttis (1995) 82 A Crim R 432. This is not the case with Commonwealth offences: Commonwealth Criminal Code section 11.5(3).
Conspiring to be reckless
The Crown can charge an accused with conspiring to commit an offence where the mental element is recklessness, but both under the Commonwealth Criminal Code and at common law, in order to establish the offence the Crown must prove actual knowledge of the facts which make the act or acts unlawful: Regina v RK and LK  NSWCCA 338. Special leave to appeal against this decision was granted and the High Court is currently reserved on the matter.
Conspiracy and Jurisdiction.
It now appears that a NSW court has jurisdiction to deal with a conspiracy in Australia as long as there is a real connection with NSW: Lipohar v The Queen (1999) 200 CLR 485. It is an offence in NSW to conspire outside NSW to commit an offence in NSW. It is not clear if it is an offence in Australia to conspire in Australia to commit a crime outside Australia (Isaac (1996) 87 A Crim R 513).
The accused is entitled to particulars of the precise scope of the conspiracy: Mok (1987) 27 A Crim R 438. If the Crown moves away from the conspiracy as opened upon, the trial may miscarry: Wong (u/r, 27/5/88), Mok.
Penalty for Conspiracy
At common law the penalty for conspiracy was at large (i.e. there is no maximum penalty). For
conspiracy to commit a Commonwealth offence, the maximum penalty is the maximum penalty
for the substantive offence: Commonwealth Criminal Code section
Degrees of Participation.
There are the following degrees of participation:
See Osland v The Queen (1998) 197 CLR 316 especially per McHugh J.
Proof that a Crime Has been Committed.
It is necessary for the prosecution to establish that a crime has actually been committed: Demirian (1989) VR 97. It cannot be proved by a certificate of conviction of the principal: Triffett (1992) 64 A Crim R 145, Welsh (1998) 105 A Crim R 448, but see Carter and Savage (1990) 47 A Crim R 55. However because the principal can raise a defence does not prevent the accessory from being guilty: Cogan and Leak (1975) 2 All ER 1059, Howe (1987) AC 417, Attorney General's Reference (no. 1 of 1975) (1975) QB 777, Osland v The Queen (1998) 197 CLR 316.
It was not enough to establish that the accused was aware that some illegal venture was planned, there must be evidence of knowledge that the accused was aware that a venture of the type committed was planned: Bainbridge (1960) 1 QB 129.
Mere presence is not enough, unless there is an intention to encourage, ready to assist: Wilcox v Jeffrey (1951) 1 All ER 464, Phan (2001) 53 NSWLR 480, 123 A Crim R 30.
To withdraw there must be timely communication of the intention to abandon the common criminal purpose communicated to those who desire to continue with it: Becerra and Cooper (1975) 62 Cr App R 212, White v Ridley (1978) 140 CLR 342, Tietie (1988) 34 A Crim R 438. The accused must take reasonable steps to withdraw his encouragement: Wilton (1993) 64 A Crim R 359, White v Ridley. If the accused honestly does not believe that the others will still commit the crime he is entitled to be acquitted: Truong (1998) 5 Crim LN . For Commonwealth offences see Commonwealth Criminal Code section 11.2 (4), 11.5(4).
To establish the mens rea for being an aider and abettor there must be proved knowledge of the essential facts that constitute the offence and intention that the offence be committed. Recklessness is not sufficient. Wilful blindness is only relevant in that it may be evidence of intention: Giorgianni v The Queen (1985) 156 CLR 473.
Joint Criminal Enterprise
In Tangye (1997) 92 A Crim R 545 at 556-7 Hunt CJ at CL set out the principles relating to joint criminal enterprise which have been accepted in other cases including Regina v Chishimba  NSWCCA 228 at para :
“(1) The law is that, where two or more persons carry out a joint criminal enterprise, each is responsible for the acts of the other or others in carrying out that enterprise. The Crown must establish both the existence of that joint criminal enterprise and the participation in it by the accused.
(2) A joint criminal enterprise exists where two or more persons reach an understanding or arrangement amounting to an agreement between them that they will commit a crime. The understanding or arrangement need not be express, and its existence may be inferred from all the circumstances. It need not have been reached at any time before the crime is committed. The circumstances in which two or more persons are participating together in the commission of a particular crime may themselves establish an unspoken understanding or arrangement amounting to an agreement formed between them then and there to commit that crime.
(3) A person participates in that joint criminal enterprise either by committing the agreed crime itself or simply by being present at the time when the crime is committed, and (with knowledge that the crime is to be or is being committed) by intentionally assisting or encouraging another participant in the joint criminal enterprise to commit that crime. The presence of that person at the time when the crime is committed and a readiness to give aid if required is sufficient to amount to an encouragement to the other participant in the joint criminal enterprise to commit the crime.
(4) If the agreed crime is committed by one or other of the participants in that joint criminal enterprise, all of the participants in that enterprise are equally guilty of the crime regardless of the part played by each in its commission” (at 556 – 557).
In Youkhana v Regina  NSWCCA 41 esp at para  it was held that it was not necessary to show that an accused is assisting or encouraging another participant to commit the crime if it was established that the accused was a party to the joint enterprise.
Joint enterprise for manslaughter by way of unlawful and dangerous act
The Judicial Commission bench book suggests the following direction be given where the Crown case is that there is joint enterprise between A and B to commit a robbery on (V1) and B stabs and kills a bystander (V2):
Where the Crown case is that A and B agreed to assault V, and he dies as a result of an assault, the Crown must establish that:
See TWL v Regina  NSWCCA 57.
Joint Enterprise for Maliciously Inflict Grievous Bodily Harm
The mens rea for a principal in the second degree in the offence of maliciously inflict GBH was held to be:
(1) that A knew (or was aware):
(a) of the intention of B to hit the victim, and
(b) that B:
(i) intended thereby to inflict some physical injury upon the victim, or
(ii) realised the possibility that some such injury might result but he nevertheless intended to go ahead and hit the victim; and
(2) that, with that knowledge, A intentionally assisted or encouraged B to commit the crime of maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm upon the victim (Stokes and Difford (1990) 51 A Crim R 25 at 41).
Malicious Wounding with Intent
In Prince v Regina  NSWCCA 274 (at para the NSW CCA appears (at , per Schmidt J, with whom Gleeson JA agreed) to have accepted a Crown submission that where there is a charge of malicious wounding with intent on a joint enterprise basis, the prosecution must prove (as against a principal in the second degree, that is someone who was present but did not inflict the relevant injury) that
Joint Enterprise for Malicious Wounding
The elements of the offence of malicious wounding for a principal in the second degree have been held to be (where A is the principal in the second degree and B is the principal in the first degree).
· First, that B intended to strike the victim causing injury.
· Second, that such injury would involve a wounding, that is, the breaking of the skin.
· Third, that knowing these things, A intentionally assisted or encouraged B to commit the offence
(Shepherd  NSWCCA 351).
It would seem to be necessary for the Crown to prove that A knew B had a knife.
This doctrine only applies to an unexpected incidental crime added to an agreed foundational crime. It does not apply when people are carrying out exactly the crime they agreed to carry out: Mills and Sinfield (1985) 17 A Crim R 411, Stokes and Difford (1990) 51 A Crim R 25 at 35, McFarlane (1993) PD , Tangye (1997) 92 A Crim R 545, May v Regina  NSWCCA 111. It should not be applied even when it is not clear which of a number of people present committed the act: Clough (1993) 64 A Crim R 451 at 455.
An accessory before the fact and a principal in the second degree are liable for a crime within the contemplation of both of them as a possible incident of the originally planned venture: Johns v The Queen (1980) 143 CLR 108, McAuliffe v The Queen (1995) 183 CLR 108, 69 ALJR 621, (1995) 79 A Crim R 229. There may be a question of the remoteness of the risk, and negligible possibilities may need to be disregarded: Chan Wing-Siu  AC 168. Query the result where common purpose and reckless indifference overlap: Annakin (1987) 37 A Crim R 131. If the incidental crime is contemplated as a possibility, an accessory before the fact or principal in the second degree will be guilty even if he did not agree to the secondary crime: see Gillard v The Queen (2003) 219 CLR 1 esp at paras  to .
Challenges to the doctrine of common purpose have been rejected by the High Court in Clayton, Hartwick v The Queen (2006) 81 ALJR 439 and Miller v The Queen  HCA 30.
Common Purpose Murder.
The Crown must prove (in the standard 'robbery gone wrong' case):
There must be proof of knowledge of the weapon's presence
or that some use of a weapon is within the scope of the common design (less likely
with guns): Duong (1992) 61 A Crim R 140. It has been held that the jury need not be directed
that to return a verdict of guilty, the jury would have to be satisfied that A contemplated
the use of the gun by B other than in self-defence: Bikic  NSWCCA 227.
A failure to direct the jury that the Crown must establish that A contemplated that B might use the weapon with the intention of causing really serious bodily harm is fatal to the directions: Taufahema  NSWCCA 33.
Common Purpose Felony Murder.
The Crown must prove:
Common Purpose Manslaughter
If a person counsels or procures another person to do an act which is unlawful and likely to cause harm to another person, and results in a death (even though death was not foreseen or intended), the first person can be guilty of manslaughter: The Queen v Chai  HCA 12.
Where two more or people form a joint criminal enterprise to commit a criminal act, and one of them is killed in carrying out that criminal enterprise, the others are not guilty by reason of joint enterprise manslaughter: IL v The Queen  HCA 27, Moussa v Regina  NSWCCA 237 esp at .
It has been held that it is wrong to direct a jury that if the accused contemplates that something more than trivial harm will be occasioned to the victim the accused is guilty of manslaughter: Rees  NSWCCA 23. Model directions are not easy to frame, but it appears that directions similar to these have the approval of the NSW CCA in Puta  NSWCCA 495. The Crown must prove:
Principal in Second Degree.
Where the accused is present, the Crown must establish that the accused was aware of the intention of the principal perpetrator: Clough (1993) 64 A Crim R 451 at 455, but see McAuliffe & McAuliffe (1993) 70 A Crim R 303.
The Crown is required to prove:
(Tangye (1997) 92 A Crim R 545).
Model directions are given in Tangye at 556-7.
Accessory Before the Fact.
With an accessory before the fact, no event, after the accessory parts company with the others, is evidence of common purpose: Duong (1992) 61 A Crim R 140. It appears that in a case of accessory before the fact to murder on the basis of joint enterprise, the Crown must establish that:
It appears that in a case of accessory before the fact to murder on the basis of common purpose, the Crown must establish that:
See Suteski (2002) 56 NSWLR 182, 137 A Crim R 371 (especially
at para ).
Accessory after the Fact.
An accessory after the fact must have knowledge of all the facts constituting the particular offence at the time he renders assistance to the principal: Stone  VR 737. The act must be done with the intention of helping the principal avoid detection: Young and Phipps (1995) PD . Thus sharing in the proceeds with nothing more will not suffice: Barlow (1962) 79 WN (NSW) 756.
In order to establish the offence of accessory after the fact to murder, the Crown must establish that the accused was aware that the principal offender had the requisite intent for murder: Gall v Regina  NSWCCA 69 esp at para .
At common law a wife could not be convicted of being an accessory after the fact to a crime committed by her husband: CAL (NSW CCA 24/10/96). However this immunity has been abolished: s. 347A Crimes Act.
Conceal Serious Offence (formerly Misprision of a Felony).
Misprision of a felony has been abolished by s. 341 Crimes Act. It is an offence to fail to inform the police which might be of material assistance in arresting or prosecuting an offender of a serious crime (punishable by over 5 years): s. 316. The maximum penalty is 2 years.If the principal offender is dealt with summarily the offence is still applicable: Sinclair (Sperling J (1997) 4 Crim LN ). The accused must have subjective knowledge of the commission of a felony, not mere suspicion: Wozniak (1989) 40 A Crim R 290. Material facts are not facts already known to the police: Stone  VR 737. Silence of a person after a caution and when an answer would tend to incriminate does not constitute an offence: King (1965) 49 Cr App R 140, Lucraft (1966) Cr App R 296.
12. Offences Against the Justice System and Corruption
Escape is the conscious and intentional withdrawal from custody. A prisoner innocently at large is not guilty of escape: Scott (1967) VR 276. A person who appears on bail but flees from the court is guilty of common law escape: Peehi (1997) 41 NSWLR 476, (1997) 92 A Crim R 539.
It seems that it is not necessary for the Crown to prove each step in a chain of custody of the prisoner: Powch v The Queen (1987) 163 CLR 496, effectively overruling Templeton  VLR 709.
Maintain an Escapee.
It is not enough to supply an escapee with one meal, maintenance must be continuous: Blinkhorn (1994) 71 A Crim R 472.
Elements of Perjury.
The elements of perjury are:
The requirement of corroboration has been preserved under s. 164 Evidence Act. There must be corroboration of the alleged lie: Yates (1841) 174 ER 441.
Swearing involves an appeal to a higher being: Sossi (1985) 17 A Crim R 405. There should be proof not merely of a signature on an affidavit, but of evidence of the oath being administered on that occasion or by invariable practice: Rickards (1849) 13 JP Reports 201. There is an alternative verdict if swearing is not proved under s. 31 Oaths Act.
The lie must relate to a matter material to the case: Murray (1858) 1 F& F 80, Alsop (1869) 11 Cox 264 , Hellifont (1991) 57 A Crim R 256. The question of materiality is a matter of law (s. 327(4)). If the lie is not material, there is an alternative verdict for false swearing under s. 329. Any matter which is practically relevant to the proceedings is material: Dineen (NSW CCA 25/2/98), Charles (1998) 5 Crim LN .
Knowing the Statement to be Untrue.
The Crown must prove that the accused made a statement knowing at the time that he made it that it was false or at least that he did not believe it to be true. If the jury concludes that the accused made a genuine (even if unreasonable) mistake the jury must acquit: MacKenzie v The Queen (1996) 190 CLR 348, 90 A Crim R 468.
The tariff for perjury is about 6 months: Fifita (CCA 26/11/92 PD ), Bulliman (1993) PD : 9 months. Except in very particular circumstances someone convicted of perjury should be jailed: Aristomedou [Bulletin 74]. Attempting to bribe a judge: 4 years: Taouk (1993) 65 A Crim R 387.
(c) Attempt Pervert the Course of Justice.
It is an offence to attempt to pervert the course of justice carrying a maximum penalty of 14 years: s. 319 Crimes Act.
'Attempt to pervert the course of justice' means obstructing, preventing, perverting or defeating the course of justice or the administration of the law: s. 312 Crimes Act.
'The administration of law' in this context means the administration of the civil and criminal courts and tribunals, and not for example, swearing false statutory declarations to avoid administrative speeding fines: Einfeld v Regina (2008) 71 NSWLR 31. It was held by the NSW CCA that the 'course of justice' only begins when the jurisdiction of a court is invoked, not simply when the offence is being investigated: Beckett v Regina  NSWCCA 305. However this decision was reversed by the High Court in The Queen v Beckett  HCA 38, which conveniently sets out the elements of the offence at para .
The Crown cannot use a charge of attempt to pervert the course of justice when the facts are perjury:
Tsang Ping Nam (1982) 74 Cr App R 139.
(d) Reprisals Against Public Justice Officials, Jurors and Witnesses
It is an offence to threaten to or to cause injury to another person intending to influence the person not to bring material information about an indictable offence to the attention of a police officer. The maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment: s. 315A Crimes Act.
It is an offence to threaten or cause violence to a witness, a juror, a judge, or any public justice official in connection with a judicial proceeding: s. 326 Crimes Act. The penalty is 10 years. Strangely, a 'public justice official' has been held to include police officers, but arresting a suspect and taking him to a police station has been held not to be 'in connection with judicial proceedings': Orcher  NSWCCA 356.
(e) Contempt of Court
The maximum penalty for contempt of court is 5 years, as a result of s. 4 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act: Registrar of the Supreme Court of NSW v Jando (2000-2001) 53 NSWLR 527.
(f) Misconduct in Public Office
There is a common law offence of misconduct in public office. The elements of the the offence are:
(1) a public official;
(2) in the course of or connected to his public office;
(3) wilfully misconduct himself; by act or omission, for example, by wilfully neglecting or failing to perform his duty;
(4) without reasonable excuse or justification; and
(5) where such misconduct is serious and meriting criminal punishment having regard to the responsibilities of the office and the officeholder, the importance of the public objects which they serve and the nature and extent of the departure from those objects.
See Regina v Quach  VSCA 210 esp at para , and Obeid v Regina  NSWCCA 309 esp at para .
Chapter 13- Sentencing
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