Recent Cases

The King v Anna Rowan – a Pseudonym [2024] HCA 9 (13 March 2024) (Gageler CJ; Gordon, Edelman, Jagot and Beech‑jones JJ)


The King v Anna Rowan – A Pseudonym

Criminal law – Defences – Defence of duress – Where respondent charged with sexual offences committed against two of her daughters in presence of respondent’s partner “JR” – Where, prior to trial, respondent sought to raise defence of duress – Where supporting evidence on voir-dire included daughters’ evidence, forensic psychologist’s report and tendency evidence concerning JR’s threatening, violent and controlling behaviour – Where trial judge ruled no factual basis for duress – Where trial proceeded without duress being put to jury and respondent convicted – Where Court of Appeal of Supreme Court of Victoria found duress should have been put to jury – Whether Court of Appeal implicitly adopted doctrine of “duress of circumstances” instead of requirement there be threat to inflict harm if accused failed to commit acts charged – Whether Court of Appeal erred in concluding evidence was sufficient to raise defence of duress at common law and under s 322O of Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).

Words and phrases – “defence of duress”, “duress at common law”, “duress of circumstances”, “ongoing threat”, “operative threat”, “threat to inflict harm”, “unstated demand”.