Frits George Van Beelen v The Queen [2017] HCA 48

By Seppy Pour

On 8 November 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in Van Beelen v The Queen [2017] HCA 48. The case concerned the assessment of expert evidence that was obtained subsequent to the trial and whether this evidence was “fresh”, “compelling”, “substantial”, and in the “interests of justice”.


In 1973, the appellant was convicted of the murder of a 15-year-old school girl at Taperoo Beach in South Australia. The prosecution case was circumstantial and relied upon evidence that the appellant, given the time of death, was one of the few male persons with the opportunity to have committed the offence.

At trial, a pathologist who conducted the autopsy gave evidence that the deceased must have died by 4:30pm based on the contents of her stomach. This was disputed by defence. There was unchallenged evidence that the appellant left the beach not later than 4:30pm. Continue reading “Frits George Van Beelen v The Queen [2017] HCA 48”


The Exceptions to the Rule against Double Jeopardy: When is Evidence “Fresh”?

Originally published in Amicus, June 2016 edition. At the time of writing, the below post was speculative, and pre-dates legal argument in the recent hearing.


By Raffaele Piccolo

On 24 May 2016 the Attorney-General of NSW announced that the NSW Government would make an application to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal (“the Court”) for the retrial of the person accused of the murders of Colleen Walker, Evelyn Greenup and Clinton Speedy-Duroux.[1]

Section 100(1) of the CARA provides for an exception to the rule against double jeopardy. It provides that the Court may order an acquitted person to be retried for a “life sentence offence” if satisfied that there is “‘fresh” and “compelling” evidence against the acquitted person in respect of the relevant offence, and the retrial is in all the circumstances, in the “interests of justice”.

This is first time that the Court has been asked to consider such an application.

This post will provide a brief history of the offences that are the subject of the application, and possible questions the Court will have to consider when asked to determine the application. Continue reading “The Exceptions to the Rule against Double Jeopardy: When is Evidence “Fresh”?”

Robertson and Parente – recent CCA decisions on the incompatibility of the “Clark principle” with judicial discretion


By Sophie Coulson


Hunt J in R v Peter Michael Clark (Court of Criminal Appeal (NSW), 15 March 1990, unreported) stated that the Court of Appeal “has, on occasions too numerous to mention, emphasised that sentences involving a substantial general deterrence are to be imposed on drug traffickers, and it has indicated that only in exceptional circumstances will a non-custodial order be appropriate” [3]. This statement, otherwise known as the “Clark principle” has been affirmed time and time again.

The recent decisions of Robertson v R [2017] NSWCCA 205 and Parente v R [2017] NSWCCA 284 considered whether this principle has any future application in our courts. Continue reading “Robertson and Parente – recent CCA decisions on the incompatibility of the “Clark principle” with judicial discretion”

R v Terkmani [2017] NSWSC 1154 and Unfavourable Witnesses

By Sophie Coulson


Section 38 of the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) permits a party calling a witness to go against the ordinary course and cross-examine that witness on certain matters where leave is granted. The recent judgment of McCallum J in R v Terkmani [2017] NSWSC 1154 considers a number of applications made by the Crown pursuant to this provision. This article firstly considers the operation of s 38 and then examines some of the applications made pursuant to s 38 in the case of Terkmani. Continue reading “R v Terkmani [2017] NSWSC 1154 and Unfavourable Witnesses”

R v Lazarus [2017] NSWCCA 279

By Andrew Tiedt

The Court of Criminal Appeal has handed down its decision on the appeal by the Crown against Luke Lazarus’ acquittal, following a judge alone retrial.

Procedural Background and Facts

Lazarus was tried in early 2015 and convicted by a jury of one count of sexual intercourse without consent, contrary to s 61I of the Crimes Act 1900.

The allegation was that he sexually assaulted an 18 year old woman in the alley behind his father’s nightclub. They had met on the dance floor of the club that evening. She was intoxicated.

Lazarus and the complainant kissed each other in the alley. On the complainant’s version, after a while they stopped and she asked to return to the club, at which time she claimed the accused raped her. The accused claimed that they engaged in consensual intercourse.

After being convicted, Lazarus was sentenced to imprisonment for 5 years, with a non-parole period of 3 years. He appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeal, arguing that the trial judge misdirected the jury on the question of consent. He also alleged that the verdict was unreasonable.

Continue reading “R v Lazarus [2017] NSWCCA 279”

Director of Public Prosecutions v Dalgliesh (A Psyuedonym)

By Nicholas Morrisey

In Director of Public Prosecutions v Dalgliesh (A Psyuedonym), the High Court (‘the Court’) unanimously allowed an appeal on sentence from the Victorian Court of Appeal (‘Court of Appeal’). In doing so, the Court again affirmed the desirability of the process of instinctive synthesis and reiterated the importance of individualised justice. No single factor in sentencing is to be afforded supremacy in such a way as to fetter discretion or allow an unjust sentence to stand. The decision also acts as a reminder for practitioners that when considering a plea of guilty, the accused’s expectation of a sentencing outcome will not act as a bar to the fixing of a just sentence. Continue reading “Director of Public Prosecutions v Dalgliesh (A Psyuedonym)”

“Revenge” Porn or Child Porn? Is New South Wales’ First Image-Based Abuse Charge being Misapplied?

By Aurhett Barrie

A 20 year old man has been charged in what appears to be the first case prosecuting New South Wales’ new “revenge porn” offences, however the charges have arguably been misapplied, potentially minimising what may amount to more serious conduct.

Continue reading ““Revenge” Porn or Child Porn? Is New South Wales’ First Image-Based Abuse Charge being Misapplied?”

The Queen v Holliday [2017] HCA 35 (“R v Holliday”)

By Thomas Buckingham

Holliday was charged with, inter alia, inciting the kidnapping of two witnesses in relation to crimes for which he was in custody awaiting sentence. He was tried on indictment in the ACT Supreme Court before a Judge and Jury. The Crown case at trial was that while Holliday was in jail he urged a fellow inmate to procure another or others to carry out his plan for the witnesses to be kidnapped and forced to read pre-prepared statements on camera, recanting their evidence against him. The fellow inmate did not follow-through, instead reporting Holliday to the authorities. Holliday was ultimately convicted of one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice and two counts of inciting kidnapping.

Under s 47 of the ACT Criminal Code a person commits the offence of Continue reading “The Queen v Holliday [2017] HCA 35 (“R v Holliday”)”

The relevance of an accused’s flight to a consciousness of guilt: Grogan v The Queen [2016] NSWCCA 168

By Anastasia Kalos

In a unanimous judgment of the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal, Ward and RA Hulme JA and  Davies J held that evidence of the appellant’s flight was admissible as it was “very relevant” to the issue of whether the appellant assaulted the deceased, despite the fact that the death of the deceased occurred 3 months after the assault. Continue reading “The relevance of an accused’s flight to a consciousness of guilt: Grogan v The Queen [2016] NSWCCA 168”