The Role of Prosecution and Defence INTERVIEW WITH KARA SHEAD SC

By Hallie Warnock

Last year I was fortunate enough to interview Kara Shead SC who is currently a Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions. Aside from working in prosecution-related roles for over 20 years, Kara Shead SC also was a Deputy Senior Public Defender. As a result she has gained valuable insight from working for both prosecution and defence – some of which she shared for the interview.

HW: Can you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your career in criminal law? Continue reading “The Role of Prosecution and Defence INTERVIEW WITH KARA SHEAD SC”


Sentencing reforms: substantial changes to available sentencing orders

By Amanda Jamieson

The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Amendment (Sentencing Options) Act 2017 received assent on 24 October 2017 and is awaiting proclamation. The amendments are anticipated to commence later this year. The amendment Act represents a substantive change to the NSW sentencing regime. It builds on a comprehensive report published by the NSW Law Reform Commission in July 2013 titled ‘Sentencing’.

All section numbers referred to in this post in brackets are to provisions of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 as amended or inserted by the amendment Act.

The changes in a nutshell

First and foremost, suspended sentences will be abolished. Home detention and community service orders will no longer be available as separate penalties. Bonds (under ss 9, 10(1)(b)) will no longer be available. [Sections 10(1)(a) and 10A will remain].

Intensive corrections orders (ICOs) will be expanded and strengthened and two new sentencing orders will be introduced: Community corrections orders (CCOs) and Conditional release orders (CROs). Each of these sentencing options will carry two ‘standard’ (i.e. mandatory) conditions and may also carry additional and/or further conditions. Continue reading “Sentencing reforms: substantial changes to available sentencing orders”

From Sex and Violence to Terrorism: Comparing the NSW and Commonwealth continuing detention schemes*

By Emma Bayley**

*Originally published in Amicus December 2016 edition.

**Senior Solicitor, Crown Solicitor’s Office. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Crown Solicitor.


Many practitioners will have seen recent media reports about the new Commonwealth scheme for continued detention of high risk terrorist offenders beyond the expiry of their sentences.

The Commonwealth scheme for terrorist offenders passed both houses on 1 December 2016. The NSW scheme has been around for some time now, since 2006 for sex offenders and since 2013 for violent offenders. It is now a good time to compare the two schemes. The NSW scheme is found in a stand alone Act, the Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Act 2006 (“the NSW Act”), whereas the Commonwealth scheme will be inserted as a new Division 105A into Part 5.3 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Continue reading “From Sex and Violence to Terrorism: Comparing the NSW and Commonwealth continuing detention schemes*”

Issa v R: application of De Simoni principle

By Seppy Pour

On 2 August 2017, the NSWCCA handed down its decision in Issa v R [2017] NSWCCA 188. The case considered, inter alia, a rather unusual application of the De Simoni principle.


The appellant was found guilty of five counts of intentionally damaging property by means of fire and five counts of doing an act with intent to pervert the course of justice. During the course of the trial, the appellant also pleaded guilty to one count of recklessly cause grievous bodily harm in company. Zahra DCJ imposed an aggregate sentence of 12 years with a non-parole period of 9 years. In coming to his determination, his Honour took into account the fact that the damage to properties by fire harboured the possibility of injury to others in the vicinity of the properties. Continue reading “Issa v R: application of De Simoni principle”

District Court Associate or Supreme Court Tipstaff?

The Crim Law Committee is working on our Criminal Law Careers Guide for all you wonderful aspiring criminal lawyers. In the lead up to its release, Amicus will bring you interviews with a range of criminal law practitioners to give you a bit of an insight into the range of pathways into crime (wait, wha?).

Continue reading “District Court Associate or Supreme Court Tipstaff?”

Ask an Advocate: Agony Uncle

Lisa: Cheer up, Dad. Did you know the Chinese use the same word for “crisis” as they do for “opportunity”?

Homer: Yes! “Crisitunity”.

The Simpsons, Fear of Flying, S 6, Ep 11, (1994)

The mailing list spoke; Aurhett listened. He took your burning questions about advocacy to the ultimate ‘agony uncle,’ Hugh Selby, renowned barrister, witness and advocacy trainer and author.

Continue reading “Ask an Advocate: Agony Uncle”

Masterclass on ODPP Disclosure

Catherine Kirkpatrick talks to Trial Advocate, Sevinch Morkaya about the importance of the duty of disclosure.

While it’s important for prosecutors to understand their duties of disclosure, defence solicitors should also have a thorough understanding of the rules of disclosure. Trial Advocate for the NSW Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (“ODPP”), Sevinch Morkaya says that prudent defence solicitors will be proactive about disclosure and work with the Crown early in criminal proceedings to ensure any problems are resolved before a hearing or trial.

Continue reading “Masterclass on ODPP Disclosure”

Time limits on the ODPP electing to prosecute table offences on indictment

By Christopher Parkin

How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?’

Dr Seuss

Elections to proceed on indictment, rather than summarily, happen in the Local Court every day. But it is little known and rarely appreciated that if the Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) (“DPP”) wishes to elect, that election must take place within a limited time. Continue reading “Time limits on the ODPP electing to prosecute table offences on indictment”