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Leveson Inquest

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January 18, 2016

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The question of what NSW Juries are not told in a trial has once again reared its head. Reports in the Sydney Morning Herald have detailed evidence in the Matthew Leveson murder case that was not provided to the jury. This case was a trial for the murder of Matthew Leveson. He was said to have been killed by his boyfriend Peter Atkins. In 2009 Mr Atkins was acquitted of the murder by a jury after he pled not guilty. There is now to be a coronial inquest, which is a […]


Baden-Clay

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January 4, 2016

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The Prosecution of Gerard Baden-Clay was one of the biggest trials that the Queensland Criminal Courts have seen. Baden-Clay was said to have murdered his wife and dumped her body under a road bridge. The Prosecution’s explanation for why he had done so related to him being involved in an extra marital affair and suffering severe financial stress. At trial, a jury accepted beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Baden-Clay had intentionally killed his wife. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. In a move that has surprised many, the Supreme Court […]


The Oscar Pistorius Trial – Guilty of Murder

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December 18, 2015

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No Prosecution in living memory has captured the attention of the South African media in the way the Prosecution of Oscar Pistorius did. The defendant was a famous athlete, and the prospect of him being thrown in gaol on the charge of murder was as tantalizing as it was gripping. The trial was the first occasion that a trial in South Africa had been broadcast live on television, the media even going so far as to set up a dedicated channel for the period of the to broadcast the trial. At […]


Intent, Proof and Gerard Baden-Clay

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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 […]


Gay Panic Defence

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July 27, 2015

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A recent press release by the Law Society of South Australia has raised significant controversy about what is commonly called the "gay panic" defence. This so-called defence is a principle of law that regards a non-violent sexual advance upon someone to potentially be a matter of provocation. We see it most commonly in cases where a Defendant allegedly lost his temper and killed another person after the victim made a homosexual advance towards them. The Courts have generally considered such a non-violent approach to be a form of conduct that could […]


Joint Criminal Enterprise – Constructive Murder

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January 9, 2015

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Harriet Wran charged with murder  – Joint Criminal Enterprise and Extended Common Purpose The media has taken a prurient interest in the fact that Ms Wran, the daughter of one time NSW Premier Neville Wran, has been charged with a murder. Ms Wran and her co-accused went to an apartment in Redfern, for reasons that are not yet clear, an altercation ensued and Mr McNulty and Mr Fitzgerald were stabbed. Mr McNulty died as a result of his injuries and Ms Wran, along with Michael Lee and Lloyd Edward Haines, were charged with […]


The trial of Simon Gittany for the murder of his partner Lisa Harnum

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February 17, 2014

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The trial of Simon Gittany for the murder of his partner Lisa Harnum captured the attention of the media in Sydney in a way few other matters have recently. This was due, in no small part, to the dramatic nature of Miss Harnum’s death. She died after being thrown from the balcony of their 15 storey apartment in the Sydney CBD. The Crown case rested upon a number of pieces of evidence. The most compelling of those was the fact that Mr Gittany had clearly had a fight with Miss Harnum […]


The decision from the NSWCA in the matter of Kelly Lane

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January 8, 2014

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The decision from the NSWCA in the matter of Kelly Lane is a prime example of how a circumstantial case can come together to prove an offence beyond a reasonable doubt. Ms Lane was charged with having murdered her child Tegan shortly after she gave birth to her. The police had no direct evidence of how or precisely when the child had died, or in fact whether she was dead at all. The court was presented with circumstantial evidence that, on the Crown case, proved beyond a reasonable doubt not only […]

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