Recent Cases

The Queen v A2; The Queen v Magennis; The Queen v Vaziri [2019] HCA 35 (16 October 2019) (Kiefel CJ, Bell, Gageler, Keane, Nettle, Gordon and Edelman JJ)


Statutes – Construction – Where s 45(1)(a) of Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) provides that a person who “excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person” is liable to imprisonment – Where two respondents charged with having “mutilated the clitoris” of each of complainants – Where other respondent charged with assisting those respondents following commission of those offences – Where defence case that procedure performed on complainants merely ritualistic – Where trial judge directed jury that word “mutilate” in context of female genital mutilation means “to injure to any extent” – Where trial judge directed jury that “clitoris” includes “clitoral hood or prepuce” – Whether “otherwise mutilates” should be given ordinary meaning or take account of context of female genital mutilation – Whether “clitoris” includes clitoral hood or prepuce – Whether trial judge misdirected jury as to meaning of “mutilate” and “clitoris”.

Appeals – Where s 6(2) of Criminal Appeal Act 1912 (NSW) provides that if appeal against conviction allowed, subject to special provisions of Act, Court of Criminal Appeal “shall … quash the conviction and direct a judgment and verdict of acquittal to be entered” – Where s 8(1) provides that on appeal against conviction, Court of Criminal Appeal may order new trial if it considers that miscarriage of justice has occurred and it can be more adequately remedied by order for new trial than any other order – Where Court of Criminal Appeal allowed appeals against convictions based on construction of s 45(1)(a) of Crimes Act and on other grounds including that verdicts unreasonable or unsupported by evidence – Whether open to Court to quash conviction and decline to make further order – Whether sufficient evidence to warrant order for new trial – Whether matter should be remitted to Court of Criminal Appeal for redetermination of ground alleging that verdicts unreasonable or unsupported by evidence.

Words and phrases – “child abuse”, “clitoris”, “context”, “de minimis injury”, “female genital mutilation”, “injury”, “khatna”, “mischief”, “misdirected the jury”, “mutilation”, “offence provisions”, “otherwise mutilates”, “purposive construction”, “ritualised circumcision”, “sufficient evidence”, “tissue damage”, “umbrella term”.