DPP Reference No 1 of 2017 [2018] VSCA 69: Prasad directions

By Steven Doupe

The Victorian Court of Appeal has handed down its decision in DPP Reference No 1 of 2017 [2018] VSCA 69 regarding the validity of the giving of a Prasad direction in criminal trials. The Prasad direction is the term given to a direction by a trial judge that, at any point following the close of the prosecution case, the jury may elect to acquit without hearing any further evidence in a case that is ‘obviously weak’. The practice of giving such a direction in Australia arose out of the dictum of King CJ in The Queen v Prasad (1979) 23 SASR 161. The present matter came before the Court of Appeal by way of the Director of Public Prosecutions exercising its power to refer a point of law pursuant to s 308 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) (‘CPA’).

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Tootle v R – encouraging the jury to ask questions of witnesses

By Sarah Shin

In Tootle the NSWCCA considered whether inviting a jury to ask questions of witnesses amounted to a miscarriage of justice.

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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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