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?).

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New ‘revenge porn’ offences for NSW

The NSW Parliament is in the process of legislating to criminalise the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. The new offences follow in the footsteps of, but goes further than, similar laws in South Australia and Victoria – which are both limited to distribution and do not provide the same level of detail with regard to important definitional issues, such as what constitutes consent.

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Smith v The Queen; The Queen v Afford

In Smith v The Queen; The Queen v Afford the High Court has held that reasoning adopted in Kural regarding inferring intent to import drugs is applicable to offences under s 307.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code (the Code). In doing so, the High Court has resolved a difference between the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal (VSCA) and the NSWCCA.

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An Act that is ‘always speaking’: Aubrey v The Queen [2017] HCA 18 (10 May 2017)

‘Always speaking’ approach to statutory construction and contemporary understandings of GBH

By Suzanne Martinez


The High Court, by a 4:1 majority, dismissed the appellant’s appeal against a decision of the NSWCCA. The majority clarified the meaning of ‘inflict grievous bodily harm’ in a historical provision of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) (Crimes Act) that applied at the time of offending in 2004. Further, it was held that infliction of grievous bodily harm (GBH) did not require direct or indirect application of force and may be inflicted by the transmission of sexual disease. In 2007 and 2012 – after the offences were committed – the relevant provisions of the Crimes Act were substantially amended, and now similarly define GBH to include transmission of grievous bodily disease. Therefore, you ask, what contemporary relevance does this decision have?

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It is a matter of interpretation: Pickering v The Queen [2017] HCA 17 (3 May 2017)

By Rhanda Taouk

In Pickering v The Queen [2017] HCA 17 the High Court, in two separate judgments, unanimously allowed an appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Queensland. The High Court held that the appellant was occasioned a miscarriage of justice as the trial judge had failed to leave to the jury the possible application of s 31(1)(c) of the Criminal Code (Q) (‘the Code’). Section 31(1) enables an accused in certain circumstances to be exculpated for an act or omission for which they would otherwise be criminally responsible. Section 31(2) provides exceptions to s 31(1).

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Interview with Nicholas Cowdery

Hallie Warnock interviews former Director of Public Prosecution Nicholas Cowdery AM QC BA LLB Hon DLaws W’gong FAAL

HW Tell us a bit about yourself and about your career and interest in criminal law.

NC I studied Criminal Law in my first year at Sydney University Law School (the only Law Faculty in the State in my day) and was immediately “at home” with it. I think there were two aspects that grabbed me – the fact that the criminal law was seeking to set standards for the conduct of all persons and to punish transgressors (and the issues those propositions raise) and the personal connection it had with real people in real life situations (in all their diversity and strangeness).

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