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Inquest into the death of Matthew Leveson

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November 11, 2016

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The inquest into the death of Matthew Leveson took yet another dramatic turn, long after it seemed that Mr Leveson’s family was never to find out the truth. Matthew Leveson disappeared in 2007. His family and police immediately suspected that his de facto partner, Michael Atkins, had killed him. He has not been heard from since, and a body has never been found. Atkins was tried and acquitted of the murder in 2009. Leveson’s family have, since then, campaigned long and hard for an inquest into Leveson’s death, in the hope […]


Legal Representation and Non-convictions

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November 8, 2016

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Non-conviction orders are the best result you can hope for if you have been found guilty of, or pleaded guilty to, any criminal offence. But getting them is not easy. The courts have long held that a non-conviction, known to many and sought as “a Section 10” (NSW) or “a section 17” (ACT) is, to quote the most quoted High Court case on the subject, “an exceptional outcome”. A recent ACT case shows the tests that have to be applied when considering granting an application for a non-conviction order. Simultaneously, the […]


High Court Judgment – Gerard Baden-Clay

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September 2, 2016

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The High Court has handed down judgment in the Crown’s appeal in the matter of Gerard Baden-Clay. The prosecution had appealed Mr Baden-Clay’s successful appeal against the overturning of his conviction for murder. In other words, the High Court restored the jury’s verdict of “guilty" to murder, that an appeal court had overturned. Gerard Baden-Clay was accused of murdering his wife. At trial, despite their being no persuasive evidence about exactly how Mrs Baden Clay had died, the court convicted Mr Baden-Clay of murder. This matter piqued the interest of criminal […]


Value of rehabilitation at sentence

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August 25, 2016

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A recent Court of Criminal Appeal decision in NSW reinforces yet again the value of rehabilitation in keeping people out of prison. Successful rehabilitation was considered so important in this case that the appeal court decided not to send a man to prison, even though it had found that his offending warranted it – and that a District Court judge had been wrong not to imprison him. “The sentence imposed by her Honour [in the District Court] was manifestly inadequate and a sentence of imprisonment should have been imposed,” the three-member […]


Roger Rogerson and Glenn McNamara’s trial has ended with verdicts of guilty.

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July 11, 2016

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Roger Rogerson and Glenn McNamara’s trial has ended with verdicts of guilty. This high profile trial had been before the Supreme Court for a significant time. A first trial was aborted last year in peculiar circumstances, and suppression orders forbade reporting of the reasons why. A verdict having now been reached, those circumstances can be revealed. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the presiding judge discharged the first jury after McNamara’s barrister made reference to Rogerson being involved in “killing two or three people” whilst he was a member of the […]


Rehabilitation and courts

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June 30, 2016

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Two recent cases – one in Victoria and one in the ACT – show the very great importance that courts place on efforts made by offenders at rehabilitation. It is an area hard to underestimate for those awaiting sentence: it can mean the difference between going to prison or staying in the community. The offender in the Victorian case of Fattah v The Queen, had pleaded guilty to one charge of trafficking methamphetamine and was sentenced to three years and nine months’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of two years. The […]


Theft from employer

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June 9, 2016

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Matters of theft and fraud from a person’s workplace are treated very seriously by the courts, as a recent ACT Supreme Court case shows. The recent judgment by Justice Burns involved a person who admitted taking more than $1.4 million in eight separate transactions over a 15-month period. As the employer was a Federal Government agency, the eight charges of theft were brought under the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Each carried a maximum prison term of 10 years. There are many related charges, under Commonwealth, and state and territory law, to cover […]


JB v R

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May 23, 2016

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When prosecutors don’t follow the rules, people suffer. This much we have seen through the trial, imprisonment and now release of “JB”. We don’t know his name because when all of this happened he was a juvenile. JB was 15 years old when he was said to have stabbed another man in a street fight. After being arrested, the prosecution alleged that he confessed to a Support Person at the police station. After spending almost 7 years in gaol he was released, and the Court of Criminal Appeal has recently allowed […]


The decision of R v Ahmed [2008] NSWDC 380

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May 19, 2016

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The decision of R v Ahmed [2008] NSWDC 380 – why it is relevant to drive while suspended and disqualified charges, whether pending or finalised: The facts: Ms Ahmed had been suspended for the accumulation of demerit points. She continued to drive and was charged with two counts of Driving While Suspended. Her suspension concluded and subsequently she appeared at Local Court on 5 February 2008 in respect of both offences. The legislation The Road Transport Legislation relevantly provided that a person who commits the offence of driving while suspended or […]


Zaburoni HCA

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April 18, 2016

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The High Court has allowed an appeal by a man convicted of intentionally infecting his partner with HIV. Godfrey Zaburoni was tried in Queensland for the offence of Unlawfully Transmitting a Serious Disease to Another with Intent to do so. This is one of the most serious offences on the books in Queensland, and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. He was found guilty and was sentenced to nine and a half years in gaol. Zaburoni had accepted that he did in fact transmit HIV to his then partner through […]

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