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Jury Trials

Do Courts Have to Use Preferred Pronouns for Transgender Defendants in Criminal Cases?

Earlier this month, children’s book author JK Rowling tweeted the following in regard to a new practice note that applies to South Australian courts regarding preferred pronouns: Asking a woman to refer to her male rapist or violent assaulter as...

In What Circumstances Can a Judge Direct a Jury to Acquit the Defendant?

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A judge who was presiding over the jury trial of a Victorian police officer this week has taken the decision regarding guilt or innocence away from the jurors, directing them to return an acquittal on all assault charges and thereby...

The New Consent Directions in Jury Trials for Sexual Offences

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Consent Reforms) Act 2021 (‘the Amending Act’) came into effect on 1 June 2022 (NSW), overhauling the definition of consent as it relates to certain sexual offences and revising the meaning of sexual intercourse, sexual touching and...

Tips For Testifying in Court as a Witness

Receiving a subpoena to attend court as a witness can be nerve-wracking, particularly if all you know about giving evidence - also known as ‘testifying’ – is from courtroom dramas where a lawyer eviscerates a hapless person on the stand...

DNA Evidence is Not as Reliable as Many Believe it to Be

TV-shows like CSI and Bones, have seared in the public consciousness the image of the faultless crime fighting forensic scientist and infallibility of DNA evidence.  But the reality is that DNA evidence is not what many believe it to be...

What is A Voir Dire?

A lot of legal jargon is outdated, confusing, unnecessary and even counter-productive to ensuring the law is comprehensible to all people - whether represented by a lawyer or self-represented - and that access to justice is fair, regardless of whether...

In What Circumstances Can I Change My Plea of Guilty to Not Guilty in NSW?

A man who unexpectedly pleaded guilty to murdering American Scott Johnson in 1988, has had his conviction quashed on appeal and will now face trial for murder in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Scott Johnson’s naked body was...

Should Juries Be Sequestered More Often in Australia?

The recent mistrial of Bruce Lehrmann, the man accused of sexually assaulting Brittany Higgins in Parliament House, Canberra, has led to debate about whether the jury should have been sequestered - in other words, required to stay at hotels each...

The Impact of Juror Misconduct on the Right to a Fair Trial

The rise of the internet and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where it seems everyone has an opinion regardless of the credibility of the facts to which they are privy, has led to a corresponding increase in...

Minimising the Risk of Unfair Prejudice in Jury Trials

In the eyes of many, the relentless adverse publicity against the man accused of sexually assaulting Brittany Higgins in Parliament House, Canberra on 22/23 March 2019 has made it impossible for him to ever receive a fair trial. Mr Lehrmann...
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