Recent Cases

Cumberland v The Queen [2020] HCA 21 (03 June 2020) (Bell, Gageler and Nettle JJ)


Criminal practice – Appeal – Crown appeal against sentence – Where appellant sentenced on pleas of guilty to six offences arising out of course of commercial dealing in cannabis plant material and MDMA – Where prosecution appealed against sentence on ground of manifest inadequacy – Where three-member Bench of Court of Criminal Appeal (“CCA”) heard appeal and announced intention to allow appeal but referred relevant question of statutory construction to five‑member Bench – Where eleven months after initial hearing, CCA delivered judgment of five-member Bench, then immediately re-constituted to deliver judgment of three-member Bench, allowing appeal and re-sentencing to increased term of imprisonment – Where appellant not given opportunity to place material before CCA as to progress in custody, nor make submissions on re-sentence or dismissal of appeal in exercise of “residual discretion” – Whether CCA failed to accord appellant procedural fairness in conduct of hearing of appeal against sentence – Whether CCA erred in determining to allow appeal against sentence when all circumstances relevant to exercise of “residual discretion” not yet known – Whether matter should be remitted to CCA for re-sentencing of appellant.

Words and phrases – “aggregate sentence”, “Crown appeal against sentence”, “delay in the appeal process”, “discretionary factors against allowing the Crown appeal”, “imminence of the offender’s release”, “manifestly inadequate”, “procedural fairness”, “proper exercise of discretion”, “re‑sentencing exercise”, “residual discretion”.