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Supreme courts roundup, 6 to 12 September 2019

12 September 2019

Decisions, proceedings and news from the highest courts in some common law jurisdictions in the last week are as follows:

Supreme Court of New Zealand

Bunting v R [2019] NZSC 95 (9 September 2019). Successful application for extension of time to appeal. Unsuccessful application for leave to appeal. Leave reserved to the applicant to make a further application to the SC if his application to the Court of Appeal to revisit the matter is unsuccessful.

The applicant was convicted after trial on three charges of indecently assaulting two children – The lawyer who acted for the applicant at trial, Mr Claver was disciplined by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal (NZLCDT) after admitting to a charge of misconduct particularising “a range of failures over a two to three year period, in respect of 14 different clients” – The applicant became aware of this after the trial - The principal ground of appeal was that the NZLCDT’s report provided the basis for the finding that Mr Claver was not capable of providing the applicant with proper representation, and so he was deprived of his right to a fair trial – The SC held that this principal ground of appeal did raise a question of general importance - The applicant’s preferred option is to ask the Court of Appeal to exercise its inherent jurisdiction tom revisit that matter.

High Court of Australia

Taylor v A-G (Cth) [2019) HCA 30 (11 September 2019). Unsuccessful application by a private citizen to commence criminal proceedings in the High Court.

A private citizen sought to commence criminal proceeding for offence of crime against humanity contrary to s 268.11 of Criminal Code (Cth) – The offence was located within Div 268 of the Criminal Code – Section s268.121(1) provides that proceedings under Div 268 must not be commenced without Attorney-General's written consent – The Attorney-General did not consent – Section 268.121(2) of the Criminal Code provides that offence against Div 268 "may only be prosecuted in the name of the Attorney-General" – Section 13(a) of Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) provides that any person may "institute proceedings for the commitment for trial of any person in respect of any indictable offence against the law of the Commonwealth" unless contrary intention appears – Whether s268.121(2) expresses contrary intention for purpose of s13(a) – Whether s268.121(2) precludes private prosecution of offence against Div 268.

Minogue v Victoria [2019] HCA 31 (11 September 2019). Decision of the Full Court that s74AB of the Corrections Act 1986 is valid.

The plaintiff was convicted of murder of a police officer – The plaintiff was sentenced to imprisonment for life with non-parole period – The plaintiff's non-parole period expired – Section 74AB of Corrections Act 1986 (Vic) prevented making of parole order in respect of plaintiff unless Adult Parole Board satisfied plaintiff in imminent danger of dying or seriously incapacitated and does not have physical ability to harm any person, and does not pose risk to community – Section 74AB identified the plaintiff by name and applied only to plaintiff – The plaintiff was not in imminent danger of dying or seriously incapacitated – Section 74AAA of the Corrections Act imposed conditions for making parole order if a person was convicted of murder and the victim was a police officer – Whether ss74AB and 74AAA contrary to Ch III of Constitution and therefore invalid – Whether ss74AB and 74AAA impermissibly legislatively resentenced plaintiff – Whether ss74AB and 74AAA impose additional or separate punishment to that imposed by sentencing court – Whether s74AB distinguishable from provision upheld in Knight v Victoria (2017) 261 CLR 306; [2017] HCA 29 – Whether Knight and Crump v New South Wales (2012) 247 CLR 1; [2012] HCA 20 should be reopened.

Supreme Court of Canada

No decisions released during this period

Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal

Leung Chun Kwong v Secretary for the Civil Service [2019] HKFCA 34 (6 September 2019). Order for costs following successful appeal from the Court of Appeal.

Regarding costs, whether the basis of taxation should be on the normal party and party basis of taxation or on the indemnity basis of taxation.

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

No decisions released during this period

Supreme Court of Ireland

No decisions released during this period

Singapore Court of Appeal

No decisions released during this period

Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

No decisions released during this period

Supreme Court of the United States

No decisions released during this period

Last updated on the 12th September 2019