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Intent, Proof and Gerard Baden-Clay

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Published under Major Cases, News, Offences

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December 11, 2015

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The Queensland press is in a frenzy following the Court of Appeal’s decision to set aside Gerard Baden-Clay’s conviction for the murder of his wife Alison, and to substitute it for a conviction of the lesser offence of manslaughter. As is unfortunately typical of news outlets in this state where decisions of the Courts are concerned, an understanding of the law and a more than superficial recognition of the reasons for the decision is sorely lacking in the coverage.  The lack of accurate reporting has led to an understandable sense of […]


Parliamentary comments – What exactly does it take to prejudice a criminal trial?

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November 6, 2015

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What exactly does it take to prejudice a criminal trial? Many members of the legal community in NSW were horrified earlier this year to see Prime Minister Tony Abbott reading out in parliament what he claimed was evidence against two men who had been arrested for terrorism related offences. In short, the Prime Minister briefed the parliament on information he had received about the arrest. In particular, he provided a detailed account of a video that was said to have been produced by one of the arrested men. There are multitude […]


Defence Disclosure in ACT

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Published under Law Reform, News, Proposals

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May 22, 2015

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The ACT Government has proposed a revamp of court procedures that have the potential to impact heavily upon a citizen’s right to a fair trial. The proposals require an accused person to: Tell the Prosecution what legal and factual issues the accused person has with the Prosecution’s expert evidence. Give the Prosecution advance notice of the expert reports that the accused person may seek to use at trial. While noting that such a change might be justified on the basis of avoiding delay and noting also it would be easy to […]


Presumption of innocence

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November 10, 2014

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On scores if not hundreds of occasions every day in courtrooms across the country, groups of 12 good citizens and true hear the following words (or something closely approximating): “This is … a criminal trial of a most serious nature and the burden of proof of guilt of the accused is placed on the Crown … “It is not for the accused to prove his innocence but for the Crown to prove his guilt and to prove it beyond reasonable doubt. “It is, and always has been, a critical part of […]

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