Past CBA Chair, Justice Lex Lasry, recently addressed the Biennial Criminal Law Congress held in Adelaide. Here is a link to his speech, Sentencing, Politics and the Media.
We are sad to hear of the passing of Chris Larkins recently. Chris was an experienced, charming and fair advocate. He was respected as a prosecutor, particularly on circuit, but also enjoyed a lengthy career appearing for the defence. Chris was kind and helpful to many young practitioners, and always brought a balanced approach to his role. Juries thought so, too. Thanks for your company, Chris.
The CBA farewells Ken Oldis, a valued and well-liked colleague who passed away last week after a battle with illness. Ken was a man of many talents, literary as well as legal. He was humorous and urbane. He represented many accused over a lengthy career, and enjoyed the respect of his peers and of the Bench. Ken, we thank you for your company on the journey.
The Justice Legislation (Evidence and other Acts) Amendment Act 2016 (‘the amending Act’) will come into effect on 12 September 2016. The amending Act will change the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 (‘the Act’) in relation to appearances of an accused being held in custody.
Section 42JA, covers the appearance of an adult accused before the Court. The legislation introduces a presumption that an accused will appear via an AVL for all hearings with the exception of listings outlined in section 42JA(2) and (3). The exceptions relate to the following hearings:
- An inquiry into the accused’s fitness to plead;
- A hearing where the accused is pleading not guilty (i.e. a contest);
- Committal hearing;
- First hearing of accused following arrest, when the accused is required to be brought before the Court to be dealt with according to law;
- Where a Court has directed the physical attendance of the accused in the interests of justice.
The Court’s website has been updated with AVL information about the changes, including:
- Chief Magistrate Practice Direction 11 of 2016;
- A practitioners guide to AVL hearings;
- New Form 45 – application for physical appearance;
- New Form 46 – application for appearance by AVL;
- A list of each court venue’s AVL capacity and timetable for installation; and
- The daily list of scheduled AVL hearings.
Here is the County Court Criminal Division – August 2016 Update.
The County Court has opened courtroom 2.10 daily with a tipstaff in attendance to test any disks, laptops or other electronic evidence to be used during a trial. The Court is trying to avoid wasted court time due to parties testing media or media not ‘playing’. This problem is aggravated when parties attempt to play untested media for the first time after empanelment.
** Members should be aware that the Court will be increasingly critical of parties who do not test media prior to the hearing.
Previous Chair of the CBA Justice Lex Lasry spoke with Neil Mitchell on 3AW on 22 July 2016.
Here is the table of Amendments to Criminal Practice Note 01.08.16 and here is the complete County Court Criminal Division Practice Note (PNCR 1 -2015) 01.08.16.
Please note: The Court is keen to hear feedback on the Practice Note. It is intended to be an aid to good practice, not a hinderance. So, please send any feedback to Simon Moglia (CBA Committee) who will raise it with the Court.
Here is the latest County Court Criminal Division update (July 2016).
Members might be interested in Henry Venice’s blog, ‘Venice Crime‘. The CBA doesn’t necessary endorse any of the content of the blog, but is more than happy to point members to other members’ resources.
Here is the Sentencing Advisory Council’s report on Sentencing Guidance released on 10 June 2016.
Here is the Criminal Division – June 2016 Update.
Please click here for the County Court Criminal Division update (May 2016).
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You are invited to attend the launch of a major new research report commissioned by the Royal Commission into Institutional Reponses to Child Sexual Abuse. The launch will be hosted by the Royal Commission’s Chair, The Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM and the authors, Professors Jane Goodman-Delahunty and Annie Cossins, will present the research and their findings, followed by a short Q&A.
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A new practice note for bail in the Supreme Court has been authorised by the Honourable Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC: Practice Note No. 8 of 2016 Bail Applications and Appeals, replaces the previous Supreme Court Practice Note No.5 of 2004.
The Law Council of Australia will tell a Senate inquiry into the need for a nationally-consistent approach to alcohol-fuelled violence today that mandatory minimum penalties for alcohol-fuelled violence offences should be repealed. The peak body for Australian lawyers emphasised that mandatory sentencing is not effective as a deterrent or consistent with rule of law principles. Here is the LCA media release (15 Apr 16).
The High Court today delivered judgment in IMM v The Queen  HCA 14 – an appeal from the NT Supreme Court. In it, the Court held that when determining the “probative value” of evidence under the Evidence Act, a trial judge must proceed on the assumption that the jury will accept the evidence, and as such it follows that no question as to credibility or reliability of the evidence can arise.
However the Court also held, by majority, that evidence from a complainant adduced to show an accused’s sexual interest can generally have limited, if any, probative value.
A new book, Interlocutory Criminal Appeals is now out by Thomson Reuters. A special 20% discount is available to Criminal Barristers if ordered directly with the contact below by 10 May 2016. The foreword by Justice Weinberg reads, “Every criminal lawyer, worth his or her salt, should turn to this book for guidance through the unruly thicket of legislation and case law that now governs appeals of this nature.” To order, contact Johannes Christmann on firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the latest edition of the County Court Criminal Division update (April 2016).
The Sentencing Advisory Council has released updated higher courts sentencing statistics on SACStat, the Council’s online statistical tool. SACStat – Higher Courts now covers sentencing for the five years to 30 June 2015. It presents aggregate data for nearly 200 offences sentenced in the Supreme and County Courts of Victoria.
SACStat is suitable for tablet devices, increasing its usability by legal practitioners in court.
Both SACStat and Sentencing Snapshots contain data on sentence type and sentence quantum (sentence length or fine amount) for cases and charges of a particular offence. However, important differences between the two products include:
- the range of offences (SACStat – Higher Courts covers 198 offences compared with 31 offences for Sentencing Snapshots)
- the currency of data (SACStat – Higher Courts is updated annually and Sentencing Snapshots are updated every second year)
- offender demographics (SACStat – Higher Courts presents data according to the age and gender of offenders)
- longitudinal data (Sentencing Snapshots present data disaggregated by financial year).
SACStat can be accessed from the SAC website.
The delays experienced between committal and trial in recent times have been greatly reduced. In some cases now, the time until trial can be quite short (eg, 2 months). Please contact Simon Moglia on email@example.com with examples of any problems arising due to the short time. The CBA will then give feedback to the Court.
Counsel are reminded to ensure that the Court is notified if a trial settles or is otherwise not able to proceed. This is a matter of courtesy, but also avoids the waste of Court resources in preparation for trial.
The Council of Law Reporting in Victoria is pleased to be partnering with BarNet, the producers of JADE, and Little William Bourke to provide the widest dissemination of the Reports at the lowest cost through a dedicated website.
The website provides a full statement advising of a new publishing arrangement and the appointment of a new editor for the Reports. The Council is also delighted with the appointment of Peter Willis SC as the new Editor.
Here is the County Court Criminal Division March 2016 update.