Recent Cases

Swan v The Queen [2020] HCA 11 (18 March 2020) (Bell, Keane, Nettle, Gordon and Edelman JJ)


Criminal law – Murder – Causation – Where appellant’s assault caused serious injury to victim – Where victim suffered severe deterioration in quality of life as a consequence of assault – Where victim later suffered fractured femur requiring surgery – Where decision made not to undergo possible life-saving surgery – Whether sufficient evidence for it to be open to jury to convict on basis that low quality of life resulting from assault caused decision not to undergo surgery – Whether appellant’s conduct a “substantial or significant cause of death” – Whether appellant legally responsible for death.

Words and phrases – “but for”, “causation”, “legal responsibility”, “murder”, “substantial or significant”, “sufficiently substantial”.