Courts roundup 1 September - 7 September 2022
Decisions, proceedings and news from the courts in some common law jurisdictions in the past week.
Hunter v Auckland Council and ors  NZSC 104 (2 September 2022)
Unsuccessful leave application – Self-represented H challenged resource consents B and AT Ltd had obtained from Council hearing panel – HC rejected judicial review application – CA rejected appeal – Sought leave to appeal to SC – SC said resolving appeal would require it to consider facts particular to this case – No question of general or public importance – No issue of miscarriage of justice – Application declined.
Slavich v Attorney-General  NZSC 105 (2 September 2022)
Unsuccessful application for time extension – Self-represented S on 12 May 2022, applied for leave to appeal against minute of HC Chief Judge, dated 24 March 2015 (minute) - Given over seven years delay since minute date, also required time extension to apply for leave – SC said could not grant leave unless in interests of justice to do so and, regarding leapfrog appeal, exceptional circumstances existed - Clear that neither test satisfied here - No point granting time extension – Application dismissed.
Ahmed v R  NZCA 411 (29 August 2022)
A (school caretaker) convicted of sexual offending against a boy aged between 12 and 15 years old at the time – Conviction appeal on grounds Judge gave inadequate directions on consent – Minimum period of imprisonment (MPI) of 50 percent imposed on sentence of 11 years imprisonment appealed – Appeal filed 12 months out of time but as seriously arguable, in the interests of justice that appeal heard on the merits – Judge did not draw jury’s attention to evidence on which jury could have found that the Crown had not excluded consent or reasonable belief in it – HELD: miscarriage of justice not established – Way defence run meant Judge did not need to give elaborate directions on consent – No reason to think that the community needed more protection from A than determinate sentence provided – Appeal against conviction dismissed – MPI set aside.
Ritika v R  NZCA 415 (5 September 2022)
Charges related to injuries sustained by R’s 8 week old baby (multiple rib fractures and subdural haemorrhages) – Evidence about other injuries led at trial, but did not form the basis of any additional charges – Appeal on grounds Judge erred by failing to properly direct the jury on how it ought to approach the other injuries evidence, and by failing to give a lies direction – HELD: evidence about other injuries plainly relevant to how the charged injuries came about (had a high degree of probative value) and who caused the charged injuries – Little or no practical difference between s8 and s43 Evidence Act 2006 balancing tests – R not prejudiced by the absence of a propensity direction – Absence of a lies direction in the circumstances not capable of giving rise to a miscarriage of justice (difficult to see how R’s position would have been improved had such direction been given) – No miscarriage of justice – Appeal dismissed.
Board of Trustees of Melville High School v Cronin-Lampe  NZCA 407 (29 August 2022)
Respondents were employed by School Board as guidance counsellors – Claim the Board failed to meet its health and safety obligations leading to respondents suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from dealing with multiple student suicides – ACC had determined the work-related mental injuries were not caused by a single event within the terms of s21B Accident Compensation Act 2001 (the Act) so employees not entitled to cover – At issue was jurisdiction of Employment Court and whether review and appeal options had to be exhausted under the Act first (s133(5)) – Intention of Parliament – HELD: no useful purpose served by requiring claimants to challenge by way of review or appeal decisions of ACC they agreed with – Employment Court had jurisdiction to hear a proceeding in which a claimant had made claims under the Act but review and appeal rights under that Act had not been exhausted.
C (CA 136-2019) v R  NZCA 412 (29 August 2022)
C convicted of incest in relation to one daughter (R), and sexual violation charges in relation to another daughter (CC) – 15 years imprisonment imposed with MPI 9 years – R had three children and conclusion from DNA evidence was that C most likely biological father – Series of errors in conduct of trial by lawyer W alleged, including failures to adduce C’s medical records, obtain CC’s medical records, adhere to instructions, and instruct an independent DNA expert – Fresh evidence of DNA methylation – HELD: C adjudged fit to stand trial – Logical inference that C capable of giving evidence – C had not attempted to engage expert to examine him and confirm infertility which was central to defence to incest charges – Not clear on what basis W could have obtained CC’s medical records – Handwritten instruction by W, signed by C, a complete answer to C’s criticisms of not calling witnesses – Evidential basis for conviction on incest charges – Proposed evidence of whether CC’s genetic material might display increased DNA methylation not cogent – Appeals dismissed.
R v Edwards  NZHC 2209 (31 August 2022) Moore J
Sentencing - Manslaughter (one charge) - E repeatedly stabbed deceased with ballpoint pen - Aggravating factors extreme violence involved, targeted attacks to head, serious injuries causing death, use of weapon, victim vulnerability, home invasion element, breach of trust, and gang context - Cross-check with manslaughter cases resulted in 10 years' imprisonment starting point - 25 percent discount for guilty plea and 10 percent for personal background circumstances, remorse and willingness to participate in restorative justice - End sentence six years six months' imprisonment – 50 percent MPI for accountability, denunciation and deterrence.