Recent Cases

Director of Public Prosecutions Reference No 1 of 2019 [2021] HCA 26 (01 September 2021) (Kiefel CJ, Gageler, Keane, Gordon, Edelman, Steward and Gleeson JJ)



Director of Public Prosecutions Reference No 1 of 2019

Criminal law – Recklessness – Where s 17 of Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) provides that person who, without lawful excuse, recklessly causes serious injury is guilty of indictable offence – Where Court of Appeal of Supreme Court of Victoria in R v Campbell [1997] 2 VR 585 held that recklessness means person foresaw that serious injury probably will result from act or omission – Where Crimes Act amended following Campbell with significant, substantive and direct effect on s 17 – Where High Court cast doubt on correctness of Campbell in Aubrey v The Queen (2017) 260 CLR 305 – Where accused charged with recklessly causing serious injury under s 17 of Crimes Act – Where trial judge directed jury in relation to recklessness consistently with Campbell – Where accused acquitted – Where Director of Public Prosecutions (Vic) referred correctness of Campbell as point of law to Court of Appeal – Whether Parliament left meaning of recklessness in s 17 of Crimes Act to courts – Whether recklessness in s 17 of Crimes Act has meaning stated in Campbell.

Words and phrases – “culpability and criminality”, “elements of the existing offences”, “expert review of the law”, “extensive consultation with key stakeholders”, “foresight of possibility”, “foresight of probability”, “gross violence offences”, “injury”, “maximum penalty”, “offences against the person other than murder”, “recklessness”, “re-enactment presumption”, “serious injury”, “specialised and politically sensitive fields”, “temporal proximity”.