Recent Cases

The King v Rohan (a pseudonym) [2024] HCA 3 (14 February 2024) (Gageler CJ; Gordon, Edelman, Gleeson and Jagot JJ)


Criminal law – Appeal against conviction – Criminal liability – Statutory complicity – Where s 324(1) of Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) provided, “if an offence … is committed, a person who is involved in the commission of the offence is taken to have committed the offence” – Where s 323(1)(c) of Crimes Act provided person is “involved in the commission of an offence” if person “enters into an agreement, arrangement or understanding with another person to commit the offence” – Where respondent convicted of offences of supplying drug of dependence to a child and sexual penetration of a child under 12 on basis of ss 323(1)(c) and 324(1) – Where prosecution relevantly alleged respondent and two co‑accused entered into agreement, arrangement or understanding to supply cannabis to two complainants (aged 11 and 12), and then sexually penetrate complainant (aged 11) – Where element of supply offence that child in fact be under 18 years of age – Where element of sexual penetration offence that child in fact be under 12 years of age – Where knowledge of age not an element of either offence – Whether prosecution required to prove that accused knew, at time of entering agreement, ages of complainants or that complainants were under specified age – Whether substantial miscarriage of justice resulted from failure to direct jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that parties to agreement knew ages of complainants – Whether fault element in Giorgianni v The Queen (1985) 156 CLR 473 applicable to s 323(1)(c) – Whether prosecution required to prove that accused knew or believed, at time of entering into agreement, essential facts that made conduct an offence, where knowledge or belief not an element of the offence itself.

Words and phrases – “accessorial liability”, “agreement”, “agreement, arrangement or understanding”, “agreement to commit an offence”, “complicity”, “derivative liability”, “essential facts”, “group activity”, “involved in the commission of an offence”, “joint criminal enterprise”, “primary liability”, “statutory complicity”.