IL v The Queen [2017] HCA 27

By Andrew Tiedt

The High Court in IL v The Queen has set aside a unanimous decision of the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on the issue of constructive murder. That alone would make the decision remarkable, but the surrounding facts mean that the judgment is fascinating for practitioners, academics and students alike. Continue reading “IL v The Queen [2017] HCA 27”


Wilson v DPP – Interpretation Act 1986 (NSW), ‘penal servitude’ and preservation of criminal liability under repealed provision

By Seppy Pour

In Wilson v DPP [2017] NSWCA 128, the Court of Appeal considered whether a repealed offence which imposed a maximum of five years of ‘penal servitude’ was considered a ‘serious indictable offence’ for the purposes of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).


The appellant, Philip Edward Wilson, was charged with an offence under Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) (Crimes Act) s 316(1). Section 316(1) makes it an offence to fail without reasonable excuse to bring material information to police where a person knows or believes that another person has committed a ‘serious indictable offence’. It was alleged that between 2004 and 2006, the appellant failed to bring material information to police relating to an indecent assault on a boy aged 10 years contrary to Crimes Act s 81. The indecent assault was allegedly committed in 1971 by a Catholic priest, Father Fletcher. The offence under s 81 was repealed in 1984.

The appellant sought to have the court attendance notice quashed at first instance on the basis that the offence was not a ‘serious indictable offence’ for the purposes of the Crimes Act. This application was dismissed. An appeal from that order to a single judge of the Supreme Court was dismissed.

The appellant appealed from that decision to the Court of Appeal (NSWCA). The issue before the NSWCA was whether, at the time the appellant was alleged to have withheld information relevant to Father Fletcher’s alleged offence, s 81 was a ‘serious indictable offence’ for the purposes of the Crimes Act. Continue reading “Wilson v DPP – Interpretation Act 1986 (NSW), ‘penal servitude’ and preservation of criminal liability under repealed provision”

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”

Section 25A Assault causing death

By Maeve Curry, Barrister, Sir Owen Dixon Chambers


The “one punch” laws

Section 25A was inserted into the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) with alarming speed, following intensifying media coverage and public campaigns for tougher laws and mandatory sentencing to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence. However, a recent statutory review of section 25A reveals that the new law remains largely untested.

On 21 January 2014 former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell announced his 16-point plan. On 30 January 2014, without any known public consultation or input from the NSW Law Reform Commission (NSWLRC), and barely over a week later, a Bill was passed and introduced, with a promise to have “one punch” laws up and running for the weekend. The next day section 25A came into effect. Continue reading “Section 25A Assault causing death”

Early Guilty Plea Reforms

By Sophie Coulson


The Attorney-General announced last month that the ‘Early Appropriate Guilty Plea’ (“EAGP”) Reforms proposed by the Law Reform Commission (“LRC”) will be implemented in early 2018. This post outlines the proposed changes and the motivation for each change.

In November 2014, the LRC published a report titled ‘Encouraging Appropriate Early Guilty Pleas’. The report made a number of proposals addressing the ever increasing delays in our higher courts. Submissions were made to the LRC by various agencies, all differing in views on the proposed changes. The one thing that they could all agree on was that something needed to be done to address the increasing delays and backlogs. Continue reading “Early Guilty Plea Reforms”

On whether equivalent interstate traffic convictions count for the purposes of section 9 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW)

By David P Rofe (The author would like to thank Ms Lily Davies for her assistance with this post)

There is confusion amongst the legal fraternity as to whether equivalent interstate traffic convictions can be taken into account in determining whether an offence under the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) (‘the Act’) is a ‘first offence’ or a ‘second or subsequent offence’. This area of law is in need of reform, or a Supreme Court judgment, in order to provide clarification to legal practitioners, police prosecutors, and Magistrates. The source of the confusion is analysed below. Continue reading “On whether equivalent interstate traffic convictions count for the purposes of section 9 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW)”