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”.

Background

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”

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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”?”